Top 10 Boating Etiquette Tips

Recreational boating has a customary code of accepted behavior on and around the water. Boating etiquette is about safe behavior, as well as what’s socially accepted. Here are some of the basics to help you navigate the boating world with ease while not “making waves” among fellow users of the water.

  1. Respect the Rules of the Ramp: complete your pre-float prep and checks before you position your trailer in line for launching. Making fellow boaters wait unnecessarily is disrespectful, we all want to get on the water asap.
  2. Watch Your Wake: Throwing a big wake is not just a nuisance, it can pose actual danger for smaller vessels. Slow down and give a wide berth when passing.
  3. Keep the Peace: When planning a party onboard, seek a secluded location where your festivities will not disturb the tranquility of fellow boaters. Always remember sound is amplified over the water.
  4. Carry In, Carry Out: Plan for your trash, and whatever you do, don’t toss it overboard! For your fellow boaters, it’s an inexcusable misstep; for nature, it can damage fragile ecosystems. Best to avoid both.
  5. 12mRs at NYYC Race Week 2018Check Your Speed: Know and respect the speed limit, slow down when being passed.
  6. Fuel Up Pay and Go: Others are likely waiting for your departure to take their turn at the fuel dock.
  7. Assist Others: Friendliness among boaters and the willingness to help one another make boating special. Offer to help catch the dock lines of a vessel coming to a dock; however, if the captain or crew wave you off, respect that they have a method and aren’t looking for assistance. And if you are on the ocean, stopping to assist boats is more than courtesy, it’s the law.
  8. Stow Your Stuff: A messy boat or marina is dangerous, anything not in use should be properly stowed.
  9. VHF Radio Conduct: Channel 17 is for hailing and distress calls, once you’ve made contact switch to another frequency to continue the conversation.
  10. At the Anchorage: Enter the area at a slow speed, don’t create a wake that will disrupt other anchored boats. Take your cues from the first boat to arrive, use similar length of line to create scope with same distance between boats.
  11. BONUS
    Wave! Boating is all about having fun, and being part of a special community!

Top 10 Green Boating Tips

Green Boating helps to save our blue backyard AND it can save you money too! Keep these 10 Green Boating Tips in mind both on and off the water this season!

  1. Keep Your Engine Well-Tuned, Maintained and Inspected: A well-maintained engine improves fuel efficiency helps to reduce your carbon footprint, it also saves you money since you’ll go farther on every gallon of gas. Inspect your boat’s propulsion system for leaks in fuel tanks and supply lines. Inspect your propeller, bent blades or dings will cause a drop in your boat’s efficiency.
  2. Maintenance in the Water: Even the simplest maintenance chores, like cleaning the boat, can have an impact on the water, so be sure to use non-toxic, phosphate-free boat soaps. It’s almost always much safer and easier to perform regular maintenance tasks like oil changes, fuel filter changes, and tune-ups with the boat out of the water.
  3. Fuel-Up Carefully: Prevent spills by filling slowly and don’t “top off” your tank, leave 10% empty to allow for fuel expansion. Use an absorbent bib or collar to catch drips, and if you do spill fuel or oil, don’t use soap to disperse it. Store spare oil-absorbent socks, pads and pillows onboard your boat for this purpose. Notify marina management for assistance, they should have equipment on hand and a procedure to address the problem quickly. Also, contact the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 for clean-up advise.
  4. Slow Down, and Wake Responsibly: You will vastly reduce your carbon footprint if you run your boat at its most efficient cruising speed. Generally speaking, this will be around two thirds or so of wide-open throttle. You’ll also save money by reducing trips to the fuel dock!
    Classic Power Boat Rally 10/07/12
  5. Reduce the Use Toxic Bottom Paints: Try alternative antifouling paints that are less toxic, these may also save money as they typically last longer than copper-based paints.
  6. Dispose of Trash and Hazardous Waste Properly: Paints and used brushes, batteries, antifreeze, cleaning products, oil, oil filters, old fuel, and other hazardous wastes need to go to the proper local facilities, not the trashcan in the marina parking lot.
  7. Use Your Head, Manage Sewage Waste Properly: Use a Marine Sanitation Devise with a holding tank to store waste properly between trips to pump-out stations. Remember, it is illegal to discharge treated or untreated sewage within 3 miles of shore.
  8. Be Moor Kind to the Bottom: When choosing where to “drop the hook” for the night, look for available mooring buoys instead. Boats and anchors can have dramatically adverse impacts on marine life. Propellers rip scars in shallow weed beds, churn muddy bottoms and disturb shellfish beds.
  9. Clean, Drain and Dry: To stop the spread of invasive aquatic species, wash down your boat, drain the bilge and any system holding water. This will help to prevent the transfer of “hitch-hikers” from one body of water to another.
  10. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Plastic pollution poses the greatest risk to our blue planet. Limit single use plastic items including water bottles, plates, flatware, shrink-wrap and fishing line. Recycle glass bottles, cans and paper as you would on land.

Information Sources: Discover Boating and Sailors for the Sea

Window Safety Week

Window Safety Week

The National Safety Council and the Window Safety Task Force established Window Safety Week in 1997 to heighten awareness of the actions that homeowners can take to establish window safety and fall prevention as a year-round safety priority.  Window Safety Week, observed annually during the first week of April (4/4-11/21), coincides with the arrival of spring, when people naturally want to open the windows and let in fresh air. The goal of this observance is twofold– for families to understand the role of windows in escaping a fire or other emergency and to learn how to safeguard against window falls.

Follow these NSC recommendations to keep your family safe:

Window Safety WeekReview and Practice Your Emergency Escape Plan:
  • Identify at least one window in each sleeping and living area that meets escape and rescue requirements.
  • Include two escape routes from each room and teach children how to safely use windows as emergency exits.
Ensure Window Functionality:
  • If your windows have guards, bars, grilles or grates check that they have operable release mechanisms.
  • Don’t install air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape or rescue. Never paint or nail windows shut, you must be able to open them in an emergency.
Window Safety WeekKeep Windows Closed and Locked:
  • For ventilation, open windows that children cannot reach. Prevent children from playing near windows and/or patio doors. Keep furniture – or anything children can climb – away from windows.
Don’t Rely on Insect Screens to Prevent a Fall:
  • Screens are designed to provide ventilation while keeping insects out; they are not designed to prevent a child’s fall from a window.
Consider Strategic Landscaping:
  • Plant shrubs and soft edging like wood chips or grass under windows to cushion potential falls.
Call us at 401-846-9629 for a FREE Homeowners’ Insurance policy review;
We’ll always do our BEST for YOU!

Spring Home Inspection

Spring Home Inspection

After sheltering your family from winter storms and howling winds, the exterior of your home and yard have taken a beating this year. A sunny spring day is the perfect time to get outdoors and take a good look around. Use the guide below to reveal possible damage and tackle a few DIY fixes.

Let’s take it from the top…

Spring Home Inspection, check roof for mold

Examine Roof:
  • Inspect shingles to see if any blew away or were damaged during winter. Shingles that are loose, cracked or buckled should be replaced.
  • Check flashing to ensure it hasn’t corroded or cracked, that rubber gaskets around plumbing vents haven’t deteriorated and that the metal collars on vents used with gas appliances are tight.
  • Prune tree branches at least 10 feet from your home to prevent damage to roof and siding
  • Look for signs of unwanted wildlife in the attic– shelter-seeking raccoons, squirrels and roof rats can be very destructive!
  • Remove moss with an air broom then apply a growth-inhibiting treatment to kill the remaining spores. If left untreated, moss will continue to absorb rainwater which wicks underneath shingles, soaks the underlayment and rots the roof sheathing.
  • Do NOT power wash the roof, it will drive water underneath the shingles or tiles.
Spring Home Inspection Gutter CleaningCheck Gutters:
  • Clean out all debris in gutters and downspouts.
  • Direct downspouts away from the foundation for proper drainage.
Inspect Windows and Doors:
  • Check for bent or broken hinges, cracks or holes.
  • Repair window and door screens to prevent bugs from sneaking in.
  • Follow National Window Safety Week guidelines
Check Air Conditioners:
  • Clean up any leaves or branches around the cooling unit.
  • Replace filters.
Spring Home Inspection, test sprinkler systemExamine Deck and Fences:
  • Look for loose slats, rotted sections, water stains or discoloration.
  • Remove any loose or rusty nails and make sure the railings and stairs are secure.
Test Exterior Plumbing:
  • Turn on the water to see that it is running properly. Place your thumb over the opening, if this stops the water flow, the water pressure may be too low and could indicate a damaged pipe.
  • Run your sprinkling system, look for leaks or broken sprinkler heads, adjust as needed.
Inspect Hardscape:
  • Look over your driveway and sidewalks for any sign of cracks or movement.
  • Cracks can be mended with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk.
Call us at 401-846-9629 for a FREE Homeowners’ Insurance policy review;
We’ll always do our BEST for YOU!
 

FIRE PIT SAFETY

Do you have a fire pit in your backyard? If so, you’re in good company, a blazing fire pit has become an increasingly popular added touch to backyards everywhere. Sales soared last autumn as homeowners rushed to create cozy, inviting outdoor spaces for the COVID-19 winter. True Value Hardware, a wholesale supplier to more than 4,500 independently owned stores, said sales of wood-burning fire pits were up over 300% last fall compared to the same time in 2019. For owners and soon-to-be owners of these crowd-pleasing bastions of warmth, here are some important tips that will keep you, your children, pets, and friends safe.

Location & Clearance:three burning billets in hot stove

  • Do not place the pit on a grassy surface, wooden deck, or enclosed porch.
  • Before lighting ensure a minimum of 25 feet clearance from anything flammable including your home, outbuildings and overhead tree branches.

Fire Pit Fuel:

  • Always burn dry, seasoned wood that was cut at least six months earlier.
  • To keep sparks from flying, use logs less than three-quarters length of the pit’s diameter; do not overload to avoid danger of some falling out.
  • For gas pits, clear all vents to avoid smoky flare-ups; only use the fuel intended for the pit

Starting the Fire:

  • Never use lighter fluid, gas or kerosine.
  • Be ready for the unexpected with these items nearby:
    • Dry-chemical (Class B and C / multipurpose) fire extinguisher.
    • Garden hose, with the water turned on and the nozzle set to “spray.”
    • If your pit will not withstand water, keep a bucket of dry sand nearby to dump on the flames.
  • Cellular phone

Flaming hot red yellow charcoal briquettes in a grill starter

Putting Out a Fire Safely:

  • Use Water or Sand as indicated above
  • For a gas or propane pit, turn off the supply before attempting to extinguish any fire.
  • Coals, embers, and wood can retain heat for hours and hours, even days in the right circumstances.
  • Many house fires occur when remnants of a fire are prematurely tossed into a trash can or dumpster; leave the ash, coal and ember out for several days after an intense fire.
  • Wind can reignite a barely smoking fire; stir and spread-out coals and use water, dirt or sand to extinguish any remaining heat.
  • Don’t to bury the coals in the dirt for that will have the opposite effect.
  • If fire spreads beyond the confines of the pit or flares above your head, or prevents you from switching off the propane tank or natural-gas valve, calmly evacuate everyone from the area and call 911.

It’s important to note that most RI towns and cities allow small recreational fires in their neighborhoods. To build a recreational fire means you are burning a reasonable amount of wood and there is not an unreasonable amount of smoke that can affect your neighbors. Rhode Island has state-wide regulations and each city / town has its own set of rules regarding recreational fires, but most follow similar safety guidelines and laws. These laws and burn bans are for the safety of everyone in the area.

Generally speaking, the State of Rhode Island requires:

  • The fire must be 30 feet away from any abutting residence.
  • The diameter of the pit or place must not exceed 3 feet.
  • The size of the fire must not exceed 2 feet in height.

Firepit-SallyAnne Santos-1200xFind local ordinances here:
Newport
Portsmouth
Middletown
Jamestown
Tiverton
More RI Locations

Common local regulations:

  • Weather conditions must be amenable. Fires cannot be burned when wind speed is above 15 miles an hour or if a “Code Red” has been issued by the National Weather Service.
  • The pit or place must have a “spark arresting” cover or cap.
  • The wood must be seasoned for six months, cut and dried.
  • The fires would only be allowed at single family properties or duplexes.
  • There must be a water source such as a hose within range of the fire.
  • All fires must be attended and supervised by an adult the entire time they are burning.

What You Can and Can’t Burn:

BurningPaper1200wSmoke, chemicals, and poisonous gases are not only offensive; they are dangerous to both people and wildlife in the area. Fumes infect the environment and enter into the water supply that various creatures drink from. Wildlife often get the brunt of toxic chemical and smoke which can kill off birds and force small mammals out of their homes. In most places it is illegal to burn the materials below as they pose significant health hazards.

  • Paper causes unnecessary smoke and as it is treated releases unhealthy chemicals into the air.
  • Cardboard creates offensive smoke and can cause a dangerous surge in the fire.
  • Particleboard is held together by adhesives that emit toxic gasses when burned.
  • Wooden pallets are treated with a chemical called methyl bromide which can be released when burned.
  • Magazines ads, newsletters and colored gift-wrapping paper are all made with ink which release toxic fumes when burned.
  • Plastic releases toxic chemicals that are especially bad for young children.
  • Poison Ivy, Oak or Sumac contain irritant oils, fumes cause severe lung irritation and allergic responses for some people.
  • Trash releases toxins into the air and produces excessive smoke. It is illegal to burn trash.
  • Pressure treated or painted wood may give off toxic fumes, especially lead-based paints.
  • Green leafy branches and plant life contain moisture that cause excessive smoke.

What You Can Burn, Seasoned Split Wood:

  • Oak produces significant heat while also burning slow and steady.
  • Hickory does not hold onto moisture and burns hotter than oak.
  • Ashwood retains less moisture, burns easily and does not produce much smoke.
  • Cedar is misleading because it does not produce big flames, but it creates toasty heat with an amazing aroma, making it the perfect choice for firewood on a chilly night.

Now that you know, grab the marshmallows and go!

Some Content: This Old House

PREVENT TREE DAMAGE TO YOUR PROPERTY

Everyone benefits from trees; they reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and provide much of the oxygen we need. They also provide us with beauty and shade, but homeowners can have mixed feelings about trees. In addition to being somewhat messy during changes of season, if one falls on your tree or car— your feelings can become quite clear!

Much of the damage trees can cause to property is often covered by insurance. Generally speaking, if a tree hits your home or other insured structure, your standard homeowners’ insurance policy covers the damage to the structure and its contents.

Properly selected, placed, and maintained trees can provide excellent wind protection for a house, which can reduce heating costs and noise from neighbors and traffic. By putting thought and energy into planting and maintenance, homeowners can reap these benefits while preventing much potential damage.

tree with roots

Planting:
While some trees don’t handle wind well, others can withstand some of the most powerful gusts. Select trees with strong root systems and thick bark to support them in windy conditions. That said, do not plant large shade trees within 2 feet of your home as growing roots can shift the soil under and around the foundation, potentially rendering it unstable.

Maintenance:
To minimize damage from your own trees, it’s important to maintain their health and properly prepare them for winter weather and storms. A diseased tree is more likely to have branches that will break off and cause damage during high winds. Trees with inadequate root systems may blow over or break off at the ground line.

What If…

  • A Neighbor’s Tree Falls on Your House?
    You’ll need to file a claim with your insurance company. If negligence can be proved—such as a diseased tree or tree that wasn’t properly maintained — your company may try to collect from your neighbor’s policy. If that happens, you may be reimbursed for your deductible.
  • A Tree Falls on Your Car?
    Damage is covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy.
    Trees Are Damaged by Fire, Lighting, Explosion, Theft, Aircraft, Vehicles* and Vandalism?
    Most homeowners’ policies typically provide coverage, limited to about $500 per tree, shrub or plant. *excluding residents’ vehicles.

Any Questions? Give us a call to discuss your coverage at 401-846-9629.
We’re always here to help!

Content: iii.org

8+ Ways To Be A Great Landlord

Happy Landlord

Angry Landlord
Angry Andy

There is a common misconception that being a landlord is a great, easy way to make some money, but that is often not the case. Renting out a property can be a time-consuming and energy-draining task.

Remember this guy?  Angry Andy is a property owner surveying major damage to his rental unit in last month’s feature: Landlords’ Insurance, Who Needs It?

Don’t Be Angry Andy!  Following the 8+ steps below will help you understand how to pick your tenants and communicate with them to create a healthier and happier experience for everyone involved.

  1. Screen your applicants well before choosing.
    Making sure you have quality tenants is the most important first step to becoming a landlord. This can be a time-consuming project, but will ease your mind in the long run. Consider verifying their income, performing a background check, and checking out their rental history.
  2. Educate your tenants when they first move in.
    Spend some time discussing the different aspects of the lease when they first arrive. Communicate the different responsibilities and rights they have in signing the agreement, and make sure they understand what their obligations are as the tenants.
  3. Set the standards for what is expected of them.
    Expanding on number two, make sure your tenants understand what is expected of them. This will improve the quality of your communications with each other dramatically. Who is responsible for taking care of the lawn and snow removal? Do tenants pay their own electric/cable bills? How quickly should the tenants make you aware of repairs needed at the property?
  4. Be available.
    Rental AgreementMake sure you are checking your email and phone often to keep that line of communication open. Consider creating an alert on your phone to sound when your tenant has reached out to you. Even if you just reply with a couple of words like “Okay” or “I will look into it”, your tenants will understand that you have received their message and already addressing the issue.
  5. Stay on top of repairs.
    Nothing makes a tenant more unhappy than when repairs are not taken care of in a timely manner. Follow #4 and be available so if things go wrong, you can quickly send aid.
  6. Let your tenants know in advance if you plan on visiting.
    Make sure you notify your tenants in advance if you plan on stopping by for a checkup. The general rule of thumb is to give tenants a two-week notice.
  7. Treat your tenants with respect.
    If you treat your tenants with respect, they will treat you with respect as well.
  8. Follow the guidelines in the lease.
    That lease is there for a reason! No matter if the circumstance are good or bad, make sure you are following the guidelines in the lease. It is the document that will be used to determine if there is a breach on either side of the contract.
  9. Suggest that your tenants purchase Renters’ Insurance; and call us today at 401-846-9629 about Landlords’ Insurance. We’re Here to Help!

Frozen Pipe Checklist

Frozen Pipe
  • Frozen water faucetPrevent Frozen Pipes:
    • Before the winter months arrive, ensure that all cracks, holes, and other openings on the exterior walls are sealed tightly with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating.
    • Insulate areas where vulnerable pipes are located by using electric heat tape.
    • Drain all outdoor pipes that supply water to your sprinkler system and turn off the water supply to the system.
    • Remove hoses from outside yard facets.
    • Keep all exterior entry, exit and overhead doors to unheated spaces closed as much as possible during the winter months.
    • Know the location of your main water emergency shut-off valve
  • If A Pipe Freezes:
    • Turn off the water supply to the frozen line
    • Remove insulation and wrap the pipes in warm rags, the pour hot water over the pipes until the water begins flowing again.
    • DO NOT try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame, it could lead to a fire.
  • If A Pipe Bursts:
    • SHUT OFF the water immediately to prevent additional damage
    • Take precautions to avoid an electrical shock from being in or near standing water
    • Call your plumber
    • Take an inventory of damaged property or positions
  • Adjusting thermostatFor Landlords:
    • Try to encourage your tenants to resist the urge to lower their thermostats while they are gone for the day during severely cold weather.
    • Inform your tenants that it is recommended that you let your faucets drip when the temperatures are expected to be in the 20s or below. This will allow the water to constantly move through the pipes at a consistent, yet slow pace, in turn preventing any stationary water that may collect within the pipes from freezing.
    • Inform tenants that will be away during freezing temperatures to open the doors to kitchen and bathroom cabinets under their sinks so heat from the room will help to warm the pipes.

8 Smart Steps for Buying Life Insurance

Life Insurance

How to Find Coverage That Meets Your Needs and Budget

Life insurance can form a vital part of your family’s financial stability and well-being but, if you’re like most people, you may find the thought of shopping for the right type of coverage a little daunting. Fortunately, these eight simple steps can guide you along the way.

    1. Determine whether you actually need life insurance:
      Most people do, but not everyone. If no one depends on you financially, if you have no debt and would leave an estate with enough cash to pay its own taxes and expenses, you probably don’t need life insurance. If you do not meet these criteria, you probably will need individual life insurance.
    2. Calculate how much life insurance you need:
      There are two important questions to ask:

      • What financial resources will be available to survivors after your death? For simplicity, consider three categories of resources: (1) Social security and other retirement-related survivor benefits; (2) group life insurance; and (3) other assets and resources. It is also important to know when these resources will become available—for example, social security survivor benefits are payable immediately to a surviving spouse with dependent children, but only after age 60 if there are no children.
      • Life Insurance policyWhat financial needs will your survivors have after your death? For simplicity, consider three categories of requirements: (1) final expenses; (2) debts; and (3) income needs.Then subtract your survivors’ financial resources from their financial needs to determine how large a policy to buy. Many people are underinsured, often because they skip these steps or take a shortcut (such as simply buying a multiple of annual income).
    3. Consider other objectives you may have for your life insurance:
      Some types of life insurance policies include a savings feature that can be used for purposes other than paying death benefits.
    4. Determine what type of life insurance best meets your needs:
      Essentially, there are three types of life insurance policies—term life, whole life and universal life. If you need the insurance for only a specific period of time, or are on a limited budget, a term policy, which has lower premiums, may be a good fit. If, however, you need the insurance for as long as you live and want to accumulate savings, a whole or universal policy may be a better choice.
    5. Find out if you need to add any “riders” to the policy:
      There are two that you should consider–waiver of premium and guaranteed insurability. Some policies come with one or both included with the basic contract but, if not, it is generally a good idea to add them. Waiver of premium pays the life insurance policy premium for you if you are disabled. Guaranteed insurability permits you to add to the death benefit without providing additional evidence that you are in acceptable health.
    6. Shop Around
      There are many ways to save money when buying life insurance, but they don’t always entail paying a lower premium immediately. That said, life insurance is a very competitive business so quotes can vary significantly between companies.
    7. Life InsuranceDecide whether to pay premiums annually
      In most cases, it is better to pay annually rather than in installments because there is often a relatively large additional charge for paying smaller amounts more frequently.
    8. Tell your beneficiaries about your life insurance policy
      Once the policy is issued, inform your beneficiaries the company that issued it, where to find the paper copy of the policy and any specifics about what you want them to do with the death benefit. While is rare for people to be unaware they are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, it does happen and you want to make sure that the benefit will not go unclaimed. And store your documents so that they can be easily accessed by your beneficiaries.

Contact us at 401-846-9629, we’ll help you to navigate all of your options and tailor a plan that is perfect for your family.
At Dwyer Insurance We’ll Always Do Our Best for You!

Landlords’ Insurance; Who Needs It?

Landlord Insurance

HousingWorksRI-NewportgraphicIf you are a property owner in Newport, there is a very good chance that YOU do!

According to a 2019 HousingWorksRI study, 60% of all housing in Newport is designated Multifamily.

Landlord Insurance provides protection for your rental property beyond the limited coverage of your standard homeowners insurance. Available coverage includes:

  • Property damage insurance
    A landlord policy typically covers any physical damage to the home that’s caused by fire, bad weather or criminal activity such as a break-in. It also covers any additional buildings, including a shed or detached garage. Equipment, like lawn mowers and snow blowers kept on the property to maintain it, is also covered.
  • Liability insurance
    If someone is hurt while living in the rental property or visiting it, landlord insurance can help cover that person’s medical costs, legal fees and settlements.
  • Loss of income insurance
    If your rental property is damaged by a covered loss, such as a fire or tornado, and the damage keeps you from renting it out, most policies will reimburse you for the income lost during that time.

What Landlord Insurance does not cover:

  • Tenant’s belongings ~ encourage your tenants to obtain Renter’s Insurance
  • Ordinary repairs and maintenance

Owning rental property can be challenging at times, but purchasing Landlord Insurance is a safe way to protect your investment. Call us at 401-846-9629, we’ll put together a perfect policy for your rental property.

Content: Nationwide® 2021

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