Boating Blunders: Progressive Insurance Survey

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio – May 9, 2006 – Most boaters will tell you a good day is a day out on the water. Unless, of course, they got stranded in a storm because they didn’t check the weather report first; almost sank their boat because they forgot to put in the bottom plug; lost their dentures overboard; or dropped an anchor on their foot! If you’re a boater and any of these situations sound familiar, you’re not alone, according to an online survey of more than a thousand boaters conducted by the Progressive Group of Insurance Companies. Progressive, a leading boat insurer and the number-one seller of personal watercraft insurance in the country, surveyed boaters to find out their most common, humorous, and sometime painful misadventures at sea. The survey also asked boaters about their insurance coverage because, after all, if you’re going to have boating blunders, you want to make sure you have the right coverage.

The survey revealed more than a few embarrassing slip-ups. Twelve percent of boaters say they’ve slid into the water when launching their boat because they didn’t realize how slippery the ramp was. Boaters also got unexpectedly wet when they tried to jump from their boat to the dock but wound up in the water instead (7 percent).

The most common mistakes boaters made while at the helm of their boats include running aground as well as getting a line caught in the propeller (both 15 percent). Twelve percent of boaters admit they couldn’t restart their boats because they accidentally left the kill switch on.

Fortunately, some of the most painful mistakes are also the least common. Two percent of boaters say they’ve dropped an anchor on their foot, and one percent of boaters admit they’ve run over someone’s foot because they were not paying attention when driving their trailer out of the water. But one mistake that can cause a fair amount of discomfort affected almost half of all boaters: 40 percent of boaters say they’ve gotten a bad sunburn while out on their boats.

Losing items overboard isn’t necessarily painful, unless, of course, you’re like the 2 percent of boaters who have lost wedding rings! The most common items lost overboard are hats (52 percent); sunglasses (46 percent); fishing gear (39 percent) and towels (23 percent). When asked to provide write-in answers for items lost overboard, one boater said he’d lost teeth and another said he’d lost a hearing aid.

“We’ve all made mistakes with our boats and, as our survey shows, some of them can be pretty amusing,” said Scott Hall, boat product manager, Progressive. “But boating mistakes can also be costly. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have the right boat insurance.”

Hall said the survey found a quarter of boaters (24 percent) do not have boat insurance. Of those who do, close to half (42 percent) simply add their boat onto their homeowners policy. “Boaters who choose this insurance option are missing out on a lot of specialized coverages that are only available through specialty boat insurers like Progressive,” said Hall. “As our survey showed, mistakes and mishaps are fairly common, but having the right insurance coverage can help.”

Examples of specialized boat coverages not available through a homeowners policy include personal effects and fishing equipment coverage; coverage for fuel spill clean-up and wreckage removal; and Total Loss Replacement, in which Progressive will buy a customer a brand new boat if their boat needs to be replaced due to damage or theft within the first five model years. The survey found that, of boaters who had to replace their boat due to damage or theft, 37 percent said their insurance did not adequately cover the cost to replace the boat.

Hall said Progressive conducted the survey as a lighthearted way to point out that while boating is a lot of fun, boaters should be aware of the risks and act accordingly, both by being careful and by making sure they’re protected in the event of a mishap.

Speaking of fun…several boaters surveyed said the strangest thing they’d ever done on their boat was to take off all their clothes. You didn’t think you were the only one who did that – did you?

About The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies

The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, in business since 1937, ranks third in the nation for auto insurance and number one for motorcycle insurance based on premiums written and provides drivers with competitive rates and 24/7 in-person and online service. The products and services of the Progressive Direct Group of Insurance Companies are marketed directly to consumers by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE and online at through the Progressive DirectSM brand. The products and services of the Drive Group of Progressive Insurance Companies are offered by more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies and online at through the Drive® Insurance from Progressive brand. The Common Shares of The Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at NYSE:PGR. More information can be found at