Boating Safety Tips

Before setting out on your boat, it is always a good thing to freshen up on your boat safety. Follow this checklist of boating safety tips to help promote a safe trip while out on the water:

-Share your float plan with a friend

-Share your location and expected time of arrival with a friend

-Check fuel levels (add if necessary)

-Check your engine (look for fuel or leakage if the engine is in-board)

-Ensure all lights are functioning and in place

-Check for any electrical issues such as loose, disconnected, or corroded conductors

-Test radio/communications devices

-Run blowers to evacuate fumes and vapors from the bilge prior to starting your engine

-Attach your boat and vehicle keys to a floating bobber

-Check the local weather, sea reports, and boating forecasts

-Have an emergency/evacuation plan in place, and go over it with your passengers

-Review the vessel’s controls, location of personal flotation devices and location of fire extinguishers with your passengers


What to take aboard

No matter how careful you are, accidents can still happen. Make sure to bring these things aboard the boat with you:

-Boat certification and registration

-Towing policy paperwork (if you have one)

-Personal flotation device

-Charged and functioning fire extinguisher

-Fully-stocked emergency/survival kit


Staying safe on the water

-Having a good time out of the lake or ocean also means getting everyone back safely. These few tips will help you stay safe out in the water:

  • Shut off the engine while passengers are unloading or loading onto the vessel for recreational activities

  • Do NOT exceed the amount of passengers safely allowed on your vessel

By following these boating safety tips, it will make your day out on the water a lot safer and more enjoyable.





Keep your teens safe on the road

One out of every six new drivers will get into an accident within the first six months of driving. In order to help keep your teens safe on the road, there are a few things you will want to go over with them. The more you communicate with your children, the safer they will be on the road and the more responsible they’ll be behind the wheel.

Teens often tend to drive too fast for road conditions. They are actually more likely to speed than adults. If you find out that your son or daughter is speeding, talk to them about why and figure out a solution together.

Another thing to make your teen aware of, is the recognition of hazards. Teens often fail to recognize and respond to hazards. Teens should try to leave approximately 3 car lengths between their car and the car in from of them. Remind your kids to constantly scan the road for hazards and keep a comfortable cushion in-between cars.

Something else that is a huge concern to teen safety while driving, is distracted driving. Teens are up to 3x more likely to crash or nearly crash while texting. Texting is not the only form of distracted driving however. Distracted driving can be anything that takes your eyes off of the road for more than two seconds. All of the following can be considered different forms of distracted driving:

-Reaching for items nearby

-Conversing with those in the car

-Applying make-up

-Looking at an accident as you pass

-Staring at the GPS


-Changing your music/radio

To keep your teens safe on the road, you should make these distractions known to them.

The time of a teens driving will also factor into their safety. It is said that weekends claim more teens’ lives than all weekdays combined. They are more likely to get in an accident between the hours of 9 P.M. – 3 A.M. so make sure you enforce the state law that prevents them from being on the road at a certain hour.

The timing of driving is a big factor into some of your children’s safety, but the largest contributor to an accident or a death would be alcohol. 8% of teens admit to drinking and driving, while nearly 24% admit that they have driven with someone that has been drinking. Even consuming amounts of alcohol that are under the legal limit can dramatically increase a teen driver’s risk of a fatal crash. Reinforce that no drinking and driving means no alcohol, period.

For each additional teenage passenger, the risk of a teen driver dying in an accident goes up. Having just one additional passenger in your teen’s car can increase their chance of having an accident by 20%. If there are 2 additional passengers, the rate of an accident goes up by about 38%. Having 3 additional passengers can actually increase their risk up to 83%. Graduated license laws restrict teen drivers from taking along their friends anyhow. So to insure your teen’s safety, make sure that they are aware of these rules and maybe consider making a few rules of your own until your teen gains a little more experience from behind the wheel.

By keeping these things in mind, you will be able to keep your teens safe on the road.


Benefits to Working with an Independent Agent

After several years of planning and saving up money, my friend finally purchased the home that he has always longed for. Unfortunately, not that long after owning the house their roof was damaged pretty badly from a storm. This resulted in a difficult claim because his family did not get their insurance through an independent agent. Although I couldn’t tell my friend to switch to an independent carrier to settle this claim, I urged him to allow his current carrier to resolve it. I also encouraged him to consider making the switch to an independent insurance agent to help find him exactly the right carrier and exactly the right coverage that he and his family needs.

The problem is, my friend and his wife are always busy with their jobs and kids so they don’t have a lot of extra time to research insurance options. Now that they have experienced how their insurance carrier deals with a claim, they are more conscious about what insurance they are provided with.

Like many people, my friend really didn’t know the advantages of being with an independent insurance agent and didn’t know the difference between an independent captive agent (agents that represent one company). Most people don’t think to shop for insurance the same way they do anything else.

The first thing to look for while buying insurance would be quality. Just like anything else, my friend would always want the highest quality for his money. Likewise, he would want the best insurance products for his money. This way he can optimize the best protection for his belongings at a price made specifically for him and his family. All of this can be offered by an independent agent. Independent agents are business owners who select the most desirable carriers, apply to represent them, and sell their insurance products. So when agents represent a carrier, it’s because they believe in the carrier enough to associate their own business’ name and reputation with it.

The second thing to look for in an insurance company is the selection. For this description, a comparison to shoe shopping can be made. Instead of going to a shoe store that only carries one brand of shoe, why not go to a store that offers all different kinds of shoes with a variety of quality brands with different styles and features to match your needs. The same can be said about independent insurance companies. An independent agent is comparable to the shoe clerk at the store with the incredible selection because an independent agent will offer all different types of products to meet clients’ needs. Whether or not the clients’ focus is on claims service, specialized coverages, or even cost, independent agents will cater to your every desire. They ask questions, listen, and make recommendations. Your agent has so many options to match you with the appropriate carrier and insurance products in whatever situation you may be in.

The last thing to take into account would be the amount of knowledge that independent agencies/ agents have to offer. Independent agents know all of the benefits of each carrier and nuances of each product. They can easily provide you with every detail in order for you to make informed decisions. By having an independent agent with a high level of expertise, it will give you the confidence to feel good about all of your insurance needs.

Partnering with an independent agent, like Sprowls Insurance Group can help you make sure you have the right amount and type of insurance coverage from a carrier that you both trust to take care of you and everything that matters most to you.



Prepping your home for vacation

Vacation is a great time to have fun, relax, and be worry-free. By performing a few simple tasks before leaving town, it will help keep your home safe and keep you worry free while on vacation.  Keep these things in mind when prepping your home for vacation:

-Turn off all electrical appliances

-Clean out the refrigerator (leave no perishable foods)

-Take the trash out

-Lock all doors and windows

-Have someone mow your lawn or shovel your driveway while you are away. Ask a neighbor to set out your trash on collection day and then retrieve empty cans and recycling bins the same day

-Have mail and newspaper held until return or tell a trusted neighbor to retrieve it

-Never leave your house key hidden outside of your house

-Set timers for all of the lights inside of your house

-Let a trusted neighbor know you will be gone

-Leave your neighbor with your vacation address and vacation phone number in case of an emergency

-Unplug TV’s, computers, or appliances in case of lightning or power surges

-Advise your alarm company and local police that you will be gone for an extended period

-Store jewelry and valuable items in a safe-deposit box

-Arrange for the care of pets

-Set the air system to provide a minimum of 55 degrees

Following these guidelines to prepping your home for vacation will help to keep your house safe and prevent damage while you are away.



Focus Four: construction-related hazards

By far, the most dangerous industry in the country is the construction industry. The BLS or the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed about 885 on-the-job fatalities for 2014. This number exceeds the amount of fatalities within any other industry sector. Nearly 1 out of every 5 work-related deaths in the US that year were caused in the construction sector. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration have pin-pointed the leading causes of fatalities of workers on construction sites as the Focus Four: falls, electrocution, struck by object, and caught in or between. 71% of all deaths and injuries in construction come from these four focus points.

Struck-by injuries are produced by forcible contact or impact between the person being harmed and an object or piece of equipment. Such construction related-hazard resulting in accidents are categorized as:

-flying object

-falling object

-swinging object

-rolling object

One example of this would be if a group of workers were installing signs on a highway when a pickup truck changed several lanes and entered their work zone. The truck hit a worker causing him to fall 18 feet over a bridge to his death.

Another example could be when an employee was shot by a nail that was fired from a nail gun through a wall. There was another employee on the other side of the wallboard wall who shot a nail directly through.

In another instance, four workers were working to lift a wall into place. Three of the workers received bruises and contusions, while the 4th worker sustained a fractured leg and was hospitalized.

138 occupational fatalities were caused by struck-by hazards in 2014. To help prevent struck-by incidents:

-Do not position yourself between moving and fixed objects

-Pay attention to heavy equipment and stay clear of suspended loads

-Make sure to check vehicles before each shift to ensure that all parts and accessories are in proper operating condition

-Do not operate a vehicle in reverse gear with an obstructed view, unless it has a reverse alarm or another co-worker is signaling that it is safe

-Always be wearing personal protection equipment to include eyes, face, head, and high-visibility clothing

Employers must always be weary of the Focus Four to further reduce the amount of workplace fatalities, without losing sight of other construction-related hazards.