In addition to making sure his boats and equipment are in good repair, Prowse said he also makes sure renters know how to properly operate a boat before giving them the keys. All renters must have successfully completed a water safety education course or taken a safety course online or at SML Boat Rentals prior to taking possession of a boat.
Prowse said he sometimes faces boat rental companies who don’t want to take the time to review safety guidelines. In those cases, he said he would rather lose the rental sale than allow them to take a boat without making sure they know how to use it safely.
“If you can’t give me 20 minutes, I’m not giving you a $ 60,000 boat,” Prowse said.
The compulsory instruction provides tenants with general advice on the safety and proper functioning of the boat. Prowse also provides advice on how to navigate Smith Mountain Lake, such as how to be safe in the S-curve area of the lake, where there have been several boating accidents over the years. .
Prowse said rental boats have had a bad impression in Smith Mountain Lake over the years. The efforts of its rental company to provide proper training to renters help ensure that its rental boats do not pose a hazard on the lake.
Between 2010 and 2020, rental boats accounted for just 22 of the 160 boating incidents on the lake at that time. Prowse said this was a small percentage given that rental boats often spend more time on the water than private boats.