Water sport activities define summer recreation in nearly every state across the nation. Kayaking, tubing, canoeing, water skiing, and boating are favorite aquatic recreation activities. Being outdoors is not only fun but therapeutic, as it relieves stress and gives you some natural vitamin D to boost your immune system.
Outdoor activities are also good for business. Since Covid-19, people have been finding new ways to keep entertained, and outdoor activities are among the safest ways to follow CDC recommendations.
In Rochester, Minnesota, a business owner that rents out kayaks and canoes reported a 300 percent increase in sales from last year. Part of the theory behind why sales are up is that people aren’t traveling this year for vacation. They’re staying close to home and looking for activities that fall in line with CDC social distancing recommendations.
With the increase in customers, aquatic rental operators need to be aware of their liability exposure, as more people naturally increase the risk of accidents. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common accidents, injuries, and best prevention and liability protection practices for aquatic rental operators.
Common water sport injuries
As much as we love the water, it can be extremely dangerous for unprepared individuals. There are approximately 29,000 water sports injuries reported each year.
Common injuries can occur during any water sport, including kayaking, canoeing, tubing, parasailing, jet-skiing, and more. Canoes and kayaks are notorious for capsizing, and when people fail to wear helmets and life jackets, the risk for injury substantially increases.
The biggest risk associated with water sports is drowning. Drownings occur more often in the summer months for both kids and adults. Teens and adults represent the highest fatality rates in natural water bodies, either while swimming or from accidents from a watercraft. Diving injuries are common as well. Nearly 5 percent of all spinal cord injuries are the result of diving accidents.
Slip and fall injuries
To no surprise, slip and fall injuries are the most common type of injury water rental businesses should be aware of. Often, the business location is nearby or on a body of water. Customers may return rentals while still wet and bring water onto the premise creating a potential hazard.
If the business is located on the water and has a dock, customers could slip and fall on the dock either from slippery conditions or other unrelated reasons. Regardless of how a customer slips and falls, the business owner must have excellent general liability insurance protection to defend against slip and fall lawsuit
How businesses can reduce risk
There’s no getting around accidents, but water business operators can do a lot to reduce risks and protect their business.
1. Train employees
Staff should be properly trained and know what rules they need to enforce can go a long way to reduce risks. Employees should never be drinking on the job. They should have set guidelines on what to monitor inside and outside of your facility. They should be trained to spot hazards such as wet spots and take immediate action to block the area off to dry it. Also, they need to have clear standards of conduct they can help guests and customers understand.
All water sport rentals like canoes and kayaks should not be rented without customers signing a waiver that outlines the rules and expectations. A professional waiver can go a long way in transferring liability to the customer if they are proven not to follow the rules and get injured. They are more likely to follow the rules, if they understand the risks, and be held responsible for poor decisions.
3. General liability insurance
One claim can devastate your business. Make sure you have good general liability insurance that provides coverage for:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Medical payments
- Legal defense and judgment
- Personal and advertising injury
McGowan Allied Specialty Insurance specializes in insuring amusement and entertainment risks. We’re experts at identifying your unique risks and getting you the coverage to stay protected and keep your business running smoothly no matter what kind of accidents happen.