Boating Safety Tips

Boating Safety Tips

Here are some terrific Boating Safety Tips for you from

safety tips

No matter how much experience you have, it’s always a good idea for everyone to review boating safety rules before departures. Below you will find 10 basic boating safety tips to help you stay safe:

  • Be Weather-WiseAlways check local weather conditions before departure; TV and radio forecasts can be a good source of information. If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by getting off the water.
  • Follow a Pre-Departure ChecklistProper boating safety includes being prepared for any possibility on the water. Following a pre-departure checklist is the best way to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been overlooked or forgotten.
  • Use Common SenseOne of the most important parts of boating safety is to use your common sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas), staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Also, be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there to ensure your own safety.
  • Designate an Assistant SkipperMake sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling, operations, and general boating safety. If the primary navigator is injured or incapacitated in any way, it’s important to make sure someone else can follow the proper boating safety rules to get everyone else back to shore.
  • Develop a Float PlanWhether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure to let someone else know your float plan. This should include where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone.

    A float plan can include the following information:

    • name, address, and phone number of trip leader
    • name and phone number of all passengers
    • boat type and registration information
    • trip itinerary
    • types of communication and signal equipment onboard, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
  • Make Proper Use of LifejacketsDid you know that the majority of drowning victims are the result of boaters not wearing their lifejackets? Make sure that your family and friends aren’t part of this statistic by assigning and fitting each member of your onboard team with a life jacket prior to departure. Wear it!
  • Avoid AlcoholPractice boating safety at all times by saving the alcohol for later. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved and studies have shown that the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by sun and wind.
  • Learn to SwimIf you’re going to be in and around the water, proper boating safety includes knowing how to swim. Local organizations, such as the American Red Cross and others, offer training for all ages and abilities. Check to see what classes are offered in your area.
  • Take a Boating CourseBeginning boaters and experienced experts alike need to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation. Boater education requirements vary by state; however, some require validated completion of at least one boating safety course. Regardless of your individual state’s requirements, it’s always important to be educated and prepared for every circumstance that might arise. You can learn boating safety rules by taking a local community course oronline course to help educate yourself.
  • Consider a Free Vessel Safety CheckTake advantage of a free vessel safety check from the US Coast Guard. They offer complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. Free of charge, they’ll provide a specialist to check out your boat and make helpful boating safety tips and recommendations. They also offer virtual online safety checks as well.

Please be safe on the water! And if you own a boat or are thinking of purchasing one, don’t forget to check in with your Baldwin / Welsh & Parker agent to make sure you have the best insurance for your boating needs!

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Boating Season is Here!

May is the start of the boating season and it’s a great time to review safety tips! National Safe Boating Week: May 21-27, 2016 will see the launch (pun intended) of The Wear It! campaign promotes boating safety and life jacket safety by encouraging boaters to wear life jackets.

Recreation Boating Safety Facts

All figures are from the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2014 Recreational Boating Safety Statistics, the latest official record of reported recreational boating accidents. Full report available at:

  • Drowning was reported as the cause of death in three-fourths of all fatalities.
  • Approximately 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
  • In 2014, the Coast Guard counted 4,064 accidents that involved 610 deaths, 2,678 injuries and approximately $39 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
  • The fatality rate was 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This rate represents a 10.6% increase from last year’s fatality rate of 4.7 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.
  • About 12 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction.
  • Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed and alcohol rank as the top 5 primary contributing factors in accidents.
  • Where the primary cause was known, alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 21% of deaths.
  • Twelve children under age thirteen lost their lives while boating in 2014. Seven children, or approximately 58% of the children who died in 2014 died from drowning. (Four children or 57% of those who drowned were wearing a life jacket; two were not required to by state law.)
  • The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (47%), personal watercraft (17%) and cabin motorboats (15%).

Please be safe on the water! And if you own a boat or are thinking of purchasing one, don’t forget to check in with your Baldin / Welsh & Parker agent to make sure your insurance is up-to-date!

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America’s 10 Most Stolen Cars

America’s 10 Most Stolen Cars

Is your vehicle on the list of thieves' favorite cars?

By the time you read this article, 5 cars will have been stolen. Auto theft is one of the most common crimes, taking place every 24.6 seconds. The list below details the 10 most stolen cars, the reasons why they are stolen, and what you can do to protect yourself.

10. Nissan Maxima – 6,947 stolen 

This car, even with the alarm, is a target for thieves. They are prized for their powerful engines and sleek looks. Nissan offers an immobilizing security system, which leaves the car immobile without the registered key, but that does nothing to stop thieves from loading the car onto a tow truck – or simply dragging it away – and stripping it for parts. notes that black market has a huge demand for Maxima parts, leaving many Maxima owners in jeopardy.

9. Nissan Altima – 9,169 stolen 

The Altima is one of the most recognized and loved cars on the road. It also comes standard with two very expensive, easy to sell parts: high-end Xenon headlights. Car and Driver published an article by Patrick Bedard about how thieves are targeting these Nissan Altimas for a select few parts. He says that in less than a minute, thieves can steal over $1,100 worth of parts off of an Altima, costing the owner of the car a $4,000 repair. The Altima has a huge demand for parts, and the black market is constantly on the lookout for these particular lights.

8. Acura Integra – 9,555 stolen

The National Car Insurance Bureau says that Acura Integras are one of the easiest cars to steal, consistently making their “Most Stolen Cars” list. They also are easy to part out, leaving no trace of the original vehicle. Some models came with chipped keys, but without additional security precautions installed, Integras are sitting ducks.

7. Dodge full-size pickup – 11,755 stolen 

These vehicles are targeted for removable parts that people are looking to replace – most commonly the tailgates or the wheels. Since these parts are hard to remove quickly, many thieves steal the vehicle only to leave it abandoned somewhere else after gleaning the wanted parts. Also, many thieves target trucks with toolboxes or other accessories in the hopes that they can get tools or other items to sell.

6. Dodge Caravan – 11,799 stolen

These large vehicles are targeted for their large storage space, along with removable parts that can be resold. The Caravan’s lack of security features, coupled with the simple ways to hotwire them, make the vehicles prime targets.

5. Toyota Camry – 16,251 stolen 

Camrys have always been a popular car. Their parts also have a high resale value. In fact, the parts in the car are worth more than the car itself. Many stolen Camrys also end up making a long trip overseas, where they end up as taxis. These cars also have parts that remain consistent throughout the years, so many end up being parted out.

4. Chevrolet full-sized truck – 23,745 stolen 

Toolbeds and equipment in the back of a truck is a top reason they are stolen. Also, the large vehicles have a high resale value south of the border. They are sometimes used to commit other crimes, especially when outfitted with notes that 2012 was the first year that more than one full-size truck made the “most stolen” list.

3. Ford Truck – 26,770 stolen 

Ford trucks usurped the Lincoln Navigator as the top truck/SUV stolen. CNN Money says that these flashy trucks have a low insurance pay out, but a high price on the black market. They can be easily disassembled and sold for parts. Many thieves will also use these vehicles as storage for future crime sprees.

2. Honda Civic – 47,037 stolen

Unfortunately, Hondas are extremely easy to break into. Thieves only need a ground down Honda key to gain access to any Honda vehicle. Also, the location of the unlock switch makes it easy for thieves to gain access. The parts are easy to resell, and the cars are plentiful.

1. Honda Accord – 58,596 stolen 

By far, the choice of auto thieves everywhere is the Honda Accord. For many car thieves, this vehicle is an easy break into – under 120 seconds is the average time it takes to break in. Most alarms have an easy-to-locate bypass switch, as well as being vulnerable to the same ground down key syndrome as the Civic. Both cars have a very vulnerable ignition, making the process even simpler.

How to Protect Yourself from Theft:

It doesn’t matter what you drive – it’s important to protect it. Here are a few tips to keep your vehicle where it belongs:

1. Never leave your keys in the vehicle.

2. Never leave your car running – even for a ten second trip inside.

3. Keep valuables and charging cords out of sight.

4. Use a paint marker or engrave the vehicle identification number (VIN) under the hood, on the trunk lid, and on the battery.

5. Invest in layered car security. This can include a professionally installed alarm with extra security such as a car boot, tracking system, or steering wheel lock.

When shopping for a car alarm, always look up reviews for not only the system, but where you will have it installed. Larger retailers that don’t specialize in alarms may install the cut-off device or wiring in an easy to spot place, making it easy for thieves to bypass.

If a thief is determined to steal your car, they most likely will accomplish their goal. However, if you install enough security measures to make other cars seem like an easier job, the thief may very well move on.

And make sure you have the best car insurance for your needs by reviewing your policy with your Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Agent.

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Keep Loved Ones Safe With These Pool Tips

Keep Loved Ones Safe With These Pool Tips

Little girl practicing pool safty

Many Americans retreat to swimming pools throughout the summer to escape the blistering heat. For some, a pool party complete with drinks, grilled food, and music is an essential part of a perfect summer day. While swimming pools are great for bringing family and friends together, there are risks and pool safety concerns home owners should consider.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly ten people drown each day in the United States and there are over 3,000 unintentional drowning deaths, unrelated to boating, every year. While swimming in a residential pool is relaxing and great for physical exercise, it does present dangers that home owners should prepare for—especially when children are present. In fact, the Red Cross states that about 200 children drown in residential swimming pools annually. Vigilance and certain safety precautions can greatly reduce accidental injuries and swimming-related deaths.

Invest in Adequate Fencing and Gates

According to MSN Real Estate, it is extremely important for home owners to have locking gates and fencing surrounding a pool. Privacy fencing at least six feet high greatly reduces the chances that an uninvited person will enter a backyard to swim. In addition to regular privacy fencing, there are specially made fences with childproof locks that can enclose the immediate pool area. The Red Cross recommends using a four-foot high fence that has self-latching and self-closing gates to keep children and pets away from the water.

Provide Swimming Lessons and/or CPR Training for Members of Your Household

If you reside in a home with a pool, every member of your household should know how to swim and understand basic CPR methods in case a swimmer or guest needs resuscitation. Furthermore, young children should be enrolled in swimming classes that are age- and skill-level appropriate so that they can learn basic swimming techniques to help prevent fear of water and promote better responses to pool-related accidents. The Red Cross and the National Swimming Pool Foundation offer an online course that teaches pool safety tips and training for accident prevention.

Beware of Faulty Drains

A potential danger to adults and children alike is faulty drains that produce too much suction where clothing, hair, and limbs can become trapped at the bottom of a pool or spa. Faulty drain issues resulted in federal mandates and consumer advocacy education regarding this danger, especially after the death of a young girl, Virginia Graeme Baker, in 2002. The Consumer Product Safety Commission launched a public awareness campaign to help prevent faulty draining mechanisms from claiming more lives.

Precautionary measures recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission include ensuring that spa and pool drain covers are compliant with the latest safety codes and installing Safety Vacuum Release Systems, which automatically stop a pool pump if blockage in the drain is detected. Additionally, home owners should have easy, quick access to pump switches so they can be rapidly shut down if necessary. If a swimmer is trapped by the suction of a drain, avoid pulling the person out of the drain. Instead, break the seal by inserting a small object or several fingers between the swimmer and the drain or grate.

Arm Your Pool with an Alarm System

Like homes, pools can be armed with alarm systems. For example, Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies, a company with stores throughout the United States, offers in-ground pool alarms that can sense entry into a pool by an animal or person weighing over 18 pounds. Using negative displacement technology, this type of pool alarm is submerged and can be activated by a remote control device. When its sensor detects in-water movement, an alarm will sound inside the home as well as in the pool to alert home owners. In addition to sounding a noticeable alarm, this safety device will also sound off when removed from the pool in its armed state. Other alternatives to pool alarms that can help notify home owners of unwanted pool activity are motion-sensor lighting and security systems for doors and windows that limit access from the home to the pool area.

Practicing pool safety and receiving proper training in responding to swimming-related accidents or injuries can offer home owners more peace of mind when it comes to protecting loved ones and friends. For more safety tips, talk with one of our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Insurance Agents to help you protect your home and its occupants with valuable information and insurance coverage.

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Bicycle Insurance Advice

Bicycle Insurance Advice

May is Bicycle Safety Month and a great time to review Insurance advice to protect your investment. The Insurance Information Institute shares the following tips:

Bicycles are covered under the personal property section of standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. This coverage will reimburse you, minus your deductible, if your bike is stolen or damaged in a fire, hurricane or other disaster listed in your policy.

If you are purchasing a new bike, keep the receipt and call your insurance agent or company representative immediately. If you own a particularly expensive bicycle, you may want to consider getting an endorsement that will provide additional coverage. Your insurance agent or company representative can review your coverage options with you.

There are two types of coverage for personal property:

Actual Cash Value – reimburses you for what the bicycle is actually worth given its age. A 10-year-old bicycle, for example, would be valued at the cost of a comparable bicycle minus 10 years depreciation.

Replacement Cost Coverage – reimburses you for what it would cost to replace your 10-year-old bicycle with one of like kind and quality at current cost. Replacement cost coverage costs about 10 percent more than actual cash value, but it is a good investment.

Homeowners and renters insurance policies also provide liability protection for harm you may cause to someone else or their property. If you injure someone in a bicycle accident and he or she decides to sue, you will be covered up to the limits of your policy. Your homeowners or renters insurance also includes no-fault medical coverage in the event you injure someone. This coverage usually ranges from $1,000 to $5,000.

To make filing a claim easier, the I.I.I. suggests the following:

Save your receipts.

When you buy your bicycle you may also purchase expensive equipment to go with it, so make sure to save your receipts for everything. The cost of a helmet, patch kits, pumps, extra inner tubes and other essentials, not to mention that fancy new bike jersey, can add up quickly. If your bike and related items are stolen or destroyed, having receipts can help speed the claims process.

Add your bicycle and related items to your home inventory.

Everyone should have an up-to-date home inventory of all their personal possessions. An inventory can help you purchase the correct amount of insurance and make the claims filing process easier if there is a loss. To help you create your inventory, the I.I.I. provides free, online software at

Of course the best protection of all is to keep your bike safe; to help avoid theft, follow these simple rules:

Always lock up your bike, even if it is in your garage, an apartment stairwell, or a college dormitory.

Lock your bicycle to a fixed, immovable object like a parking meter or permanent bike rack. Be careful not to lock it to items that can be easily cut, broken or removed, and that the bike cannot be lifted over the top of the object to which it is locked.

Lock up your bicycle in a visible, well-lit area.

Consider using a U-lock and position the bike frame and wheels so that they take up as much of the open space within the U-portion of the lock as possible. The tighter the lock-up, the harder it is for a thief to use tools to attack the lock. Always position a U-lock so that the keyway is facing down towards the ground. Do not position the lock close to the ground as this makes it easier for a thief to break it.

Do not lock up your bicycle in the same location all the time. A thief may notice the pattern and target you.

Contact our agents at Baldwin / Welsh & Parker to discuss to make sure you have the coverage you need.

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Bicycle Safety Tips

Bicycle Safety Tips and Insurance Advice

Excerpts from the Insurance Information Institute and NHTSA

Boy riding bike artwork

Bicycling is increasingly popular, both as a sport and as a means of transportation. And bicycles can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars for a basic bike to thousands of dollars for specialized racing bikes. Whether you use your bicycle to commute to work or simply like to cycle around the block with your children, it is important to understand the rules of the road for maximum safety and protect your financial investment with the proper insurance.

  1. Consider registering your bike with the National Bike Registry. It is even more important to keep yourself and your family safe while you are riding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that cyclists follow these seven rules:
  2. Protect Your Head. Never ride a bike without a properly fitted helmet.
  3. Assure Bicycle Readiness. Ride a bike that fits you and check all parts of the bicycle to make sure they are secure and working well.
  4. Learn and Follow the Rules of the Road. Bicycles are considered vehicles on the road; therefore riders must follow the same traffic laws as drivers of motor vehicles.
  5. Act Like a Driver of a Motor Vehicle. Always ride with the flow of traffic, on the right side of the road, and as far to the right of the road as is practicable and safe.
  6. Be Visible. Always assume you are not seen by others and take responsibility for making yourself visible to motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists.
  7. “Drive with Care”. When you ride, consider yourself the driver of a vehicle and always keep safety in mind. Ride in the bike lane, if available. Take extra care when riding on a roadway. Courtesy and predictability are key to safe cycling.
  8. Stay Focused. Stay Alert. Never wear headphones as they hinder your ability to hear traffic. Be aware of your surroundings and ride defensively.

Bicycle Safety Resources


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Celebrate Safely with Event Liability Insurance

Celebrate Safely with Event Liability Insurance

A special event can be anything from a wedding to a multi-day festival involving food sales, alcohol sales, amusement rides and auto races, rodeos, athletic contests and parades. Whatever your event, chances are that your regular insurance program will not cover these exposures. You need special event insurance that is designed to cover your particular activities.

Contact a Baldwin / Welsh & Parker agent who can help you obtain the coverage you need. A member agent can provide several event liability insurance quotes for you to compare so you can find the coverage you need at a price you can afford.

Data on Special Events

  • According to the Department of Labor, there are 70,480 professional event planners in the U.S.
  • Party and event planners spent over $6 billion in 2012
  • In addition, tens of thousands of events are planned by non-professionals every year

What Is Event Liability Insurance?

A special event can be as simple as a birthday party or as complex as a month-long state fair. If you are planning a special event, you need to check with a professional insurance agent to determine what coverage, if any, may be provided by your existing insurance and what additional special event insurance you will need to carry. You should obtain insurance for events well before the time it is needed, as the process to underwrite this kind of coverage can be complicated and lengthy.

Special events can involve a many different exposures:

  • Automobile liability
  • Liquor liability
  • Aircraft liability
  • Spectator liability
  • Products liability
  • General premises liability
  • Animal liability
  • Liability for rented or loaned property
  • Damage to owned property
  • Medical malpractice if you have a first aid station

Standard personal or commercial policies will not cover all these exposures. In most cases you will find that you are better off having event liability insurance that is specifically tailored to cover your situation.

Our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Agents can help you compare event liability insurance quotes from multiple companies so that you obtain the private event insurance that is right for you at a price that works in your budget.

How Much Does Special Event Liability Insurance Cost?

The cost of special event insurance for a one day, non-hazardous event can cost as little as a few hundred dollars. The longer the event takes place and the more activities you plan, the higher the price for insurance will rise. Here is the kind of information an underwriter will want to have available in order to price your special event insurance:

  • The nature of the event
  • The length of the event
  • The location of the event
  • A list of all activities planned
  • The number of participants expected
  • What are the provisions for crowd control?
  • Will liquor be served or sold?
  • Are there any amusement rides?
  • Are there activities that can involve injury to spectators?
  • Are vehicles or other motorized equipment involved?
  • Is food to be provided or sold?
  • Are outside vendors involved and will they provide proof of their own insurance?
  • Who is running the event and what experience have they had?
  • Are there any prior claims if the same event has been held previously?
  • What limits of liability are requested?

If you are planning to rent a facility for the event, the owner may require that you purchase special event coverage as a condition of the rental. In many cases, the owner will want to be an additional named insured on the policy.

It takes an expert to know what information is needed and which carriers to approach for a quote. An independent agent in the Trusted Choice network can give you the professional advice you need.

Special Event Liability Insurance for Weddings and Concerts

Weddings and concerts are two of the most common special events. A private wedding in a church with a reception on the grounds will not normally require special event insurance. However, if your wedding is a more elaborate event in a rented facility, you may have to purchase a special events insurance policy.

You should take extra caution if your event involves alcohol. Liquor liability laws vary from state to state. However, it is very possible that if you provide alcohol to a guest or participant at your wedding and that person later is responsible for an accident, you could have some legal responsibility. If you do provide alcohol, the safest thing to do is to be sure your special event insurance includes this exposure.

Concerts can vary from small, one-time events to large, elaborate affairs involving thousands of spectators. Some concerts involve fireworks which can and have caused serious injuries and large legal claims. Large events can also involve issues having to do with crowd control. Crowd control is a challenging issue for concert organizers to deal with. Too little crowd control can cause injuries to spectators and potential liability risks, but too much crowd control can be just as problematic and could also cause you to face a lawsuit if a patron was handled roughly by a bouncer, for example.

Whether you’re a professional wedding planner or a concert organizer, or you’re just an average person putting together a great event, make sure you speak with an experienced insurance agent first.  Independent agents in the Trusted Choice network can make sure that you are covered for any liability claims related to your wedding or concert.

Who Needs Festival Insurance?

A festival can be anything from a bake sale in your church parking lot to a large music festival like Lollapalooza. The longer the event, the more activities and the more participants involved, the more likely it is that you’ll need private event insurance. In many cases, you will be required to provide evidence of special event insurance to a third party, like the church administrator for the church parking lot bake sale, or the Parks and Recreation board for a music festival.

If you are planning such an event, contact a Trusted Choice member agent to be sure you obtain the insurance coverage you need. An independent agent can make sure that you understand the risks of all the aspects of your festival, and can find you coverage to protect you from any exposure to liability lawsuits or loss.

What Is One Day Event Insurance?

One-day events, like a 5K run or a food truck festival, still take a lot of effort to organize.  Depending on the events you plan and the vendors you use, you may still have a lot of insurance risk to juggle. If you have vendors at your event, make sure you know if they have proof of insurance to operate at the site. Similar to a wedding or a concert, be sure that you have insurance to cover your exposure, like liquor liability insurance.

Even if you’re planning a short event, you still face risks. It’s important to talk to an experienced insurance professional about the details of your one-day event beforehand. One injured person or one piece of valuable property that is damaged can lead to significant legal liability risks for you as the event planner. If you are the person responsible for the event, do not risk your assets and peace of mind by not obtaining the proper special event insurance.

Obtaining Special Event Liability Insurance Quotes

Special events come in all shapes and sizes. The one thing they share in common is the risk of injury to a person or damage to property. A properly written special event insurance policy is a must-buy item to protect your bottom line.

It can be difficult to search for event liability insurance quotes on your own. Navigating websites and calling around to agencies takes a lot of time that you might not have to spend on research.  Fortunately, an independent agent in the Trusted Choice network can help.

Independent agents work with many insurance companies, not just one, so it’s easy for them to pull together several quotes for you to compare.  You’ll be able to do apples-to-apples comparisons for the insurance you need for your special event.  Contact us here at Welsh & Parker Insurance Agency to be sure you obtain the coverage you need at a price you can afford.

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