NC Dept of Insurance Message 5/22/24

Posted in: Madison Park


Ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, let's be safe in the water and on boats


I am your North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, Mike Causey. 


As we prepare to celebrate the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, many North Carolinians will be heading to the beach, a lake or will be out on a body of water on a boat. This year’s holiday occurs immediately following National Safe Boating Week observances, which runs May 18-24. In light of both, and to kick off the unofficial start of the summer season, I wish to share the following water safety, boating safety and boating insurance tips to ensure the safest possible time on the water during these warmer months.


Beaches, lakes and pools be crowded this Memorial Day weekend and all summer long. The best way to stay safe on the water is to always wear a life jacket, follow safe boating practices like avoiding alcohol, and prepare for the unexpected by having the proper insurance plan in place. 


Boaters should observe the simple tips to stay safe on the water this summer:


  • Always wear a life jacket. Make sure EVERYONE on board has a life jacket that is serviceable, properly sized, correctly fastened and suitable for your activity. 
  • Don’t drink alcohol. It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in North Carolina and every other state. 
  • Check the weather before going out on the water. Check the weather for storms, tides, currents and winds.


Having the proper boat owners’ insurance plan will prepare you financially for the repair or replacement of your boat if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, theft, lightning, vandalism, collision, or severe weather. 


Here are some additional insurance tips for boat owners:


  • You can lower your insurance premium by increasing your deductible. In doing this you will want to consider how much of a loss you can afford to absorb if you have a claim.
  • Keep your coverage current. Check with your agent at least once a year to make sure that your policy provides adequate coverage.
  • All newly acquired boats should be promptly reported to your insurance representative.


When choosing an insurance company, remember to shop around. Make sure you are dealing with licensed agents and companies. To learn more about the different types of coverages for watercraft vessels, visit: 


I also want both parents and caregivers to do everything possible to minimize the risks of child drownings over Memorial Day weekend and the summer, even in very small bodies of water. 


According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drowning is the number one cause of death for children 1-4 years old in the United States. Over 4,500 people died due to drowning each year from 2020–2022, 500 more per year compared to 2019.


For families going to the beach, remember to pay attention to the warning flags that indicate the possibility of rip currents. A rip current’s force is strong enough to pull even the strongest swimmer out to sea. If caught in a rip current, stay calm, don’t fight the current and escape the current by swimming in a direction parallel to the shoreline. If at any time you are unable to reach the shore, draw attention to yourself and call for help.


I offer the following additional water safety tips:


  • Always watch children and never leave them unattended.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings.
  • Always keep a charged phone nearby.
  • Know how to perform CPR on children and adults.
  • Understand the basics of lifesaving so you can assist in an emergency.
  • Install a fence at least four feet high around the perimeter of a pool or spa.
  • Use self-closing and self-latching gates.
  • Ensure all pools and spas have compliant drain covers. Install an alarm on the door leading from the house to the pool.


Stay safe out there and have a great holiday weekend,

Mike Causey

N.C. Insurance Commissioner

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