Spring is here and summer is one the way at the lakes and parks in our area, so inquiring minds want to know: How are you at handling your dog and your boat?
For Fido owners, the Northwest Insurance Council is stressing proper training and handling of our four-legged friends in order to avoid injuries and liability claims from dog bites.
Nationally, about 4 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Most such incidents “can be prevented through education and responsible dog ownership,” said Karl Newman, president of the insurance council.
Keeping tabs on your dog is better than getting sued or seeing a spike in your homeowners insurance. Newman noted that once your dog bites someone, your insurer may charge a higher premium, suggest finding a new home for the animal, cancel your policy or stop covering the dog.
Here’s another suggestion: Keep dogs where they belong, like your own yard.Why risk a dog, even a docile one, losing control and biting someone because you take it with you to a crowded public place?
As for boaters, a relatively new state law requires you to pass a boater education course and have a card (which costs $10) proving it when piloting a boat that has at least a 15-horsepower motor.
Not everyone has to meet the requirement right away, though. It’s being phased in by age groups. This year, it’s 12-to-20-year-olds. Next year, anyone 25 and younger will have to comply. Each year after that, the upper-end of the age group will increase by five to nine years, reaching 59 in 2014.
Why boating classes at all? Becacuse statistically, people who take one are less likely to be involved in a boating accident, according to the state Parks and Recreation Commission, which oversees Washington’s safe-boating law..
In other words, we all need to do whatever it takes to be careful out there on the lakes. Not everybody is responsible enough or skilled enough to keep their boats from becoming dangerous, warterborne missiles.
Similarly, all dogs are not created equally. Some are more prone to taking a bite out of people or other animals. It’s been said a million times, but only dog owners can prevent dog bites.
Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at (425) 432-1209 and email@example.com