We want you all to have a safe boating and Jet skiing holday this Christmas and new year, this is why we like to remind you about child safety when out on the water. Children are the most precious thing on this planet, boating is a great way to spend time with your children. There are many tasks that can be assigned to youngsters while out on the water to teach them responsibility and provide them with valuable life lessons. It’s important to establish some boating safety rules and procedures that will help reduce the chance of trouble or injury during your excursion. Also, if youngsters are joining you, there are a few features to consider for your boat:
Consider a boat that has a cuddy cabin. Runabouts, bow riders and deck boats, even some center console fishing boats, are sometimes equipped with a small cuddy cabin to offer refuge for the kids if they need a nap, are getting too much sun.
Buy a good life jacket or life vest with a collar that turns a child face up in the water. It must have strong waist and crotch straps, a handle on the collar, and preferably be a bright yellow or orange color for good visibility.
Attach a plastic safety whistle to the life jacket and practice using it with the child.
For new boaters, new challenges mean new skills that everyone on the boat must learn.
Trying to teach your kids about boating navigation rules or proper life jacket use has the potential to become a protest session. But young boaters still need to know the basics, so here’s a little help, with easy tips to make the subject interesting and simple to learn.
1. Set The Example. Kids learn best by following the leader, so be a good leader. You’ll never convince them to wear a life jacket if they feel it’s a case of “do as I say, not as I do. So, wear your own. When the kids see you put it on out of habit, they’ll do it too — just like you do with your seat belt in the car. Click your life jacket buckle and ask them to make it click too.
Life jackets aren’t so bad to wear anymore. Years ago there would be six of those cheapie orange horse-collar style vests. They never fit right, and when you went in the water, they rode up around your neck, which prevented you from drowning but made you feel like you were being strangled in the process. Today, life jackets are made to fit the human body and allow easy movement, plus many of those made for kids sport fun designs.
2. Enlist Older Kids as Allies. Keeping kids inside the boat is a common problem. It’s way more fun to hang your arm over the side and play with the wake splashing up alongside. And while that may be safe enough in open water, it’s risky business in the marina. You might not even notice what’s going on until its to late, when the youngest passenger soon realizes he can’t join in the fun with his older siblings, cousins or friends without leaning over the side.
The best way to manage this situation? Engage the older kids who started it.
Clue in older kids to your concern and ask them to help keep the little ones safe. Kids generally like to be helpful, and they especially like to feel trusted by parents or other adults, so when they ask what they can do, just say, “The younger kids thinks they can do everything you can do, so if you don’t keep your arm in the boat, neither will he.”
3. Establish Common-Sense Safety Procedures. Many parents have an irrational fear of the prop, but what they should have is a rational fear of not keeping everyone aware of its potential for danger. Even at rest, a boat propeller can cut a foot or leg severely. Just keep away from it. Today, most boats designed for recreational skiing and swimming have a swim platform over the sterndrive and prop. This affords a margin of safety for swimmers, but everyone still needs to beware that kicking it while treading water can be painful at best.
When swimmers are in the water, the keys should be out of the ignition. I keep my keys in a cup holder near the transom, which forces me to check for prop clearance when we head out to sea. And nobody rides on the gunwales or transom when the boat is under way.
Your family and friends automatically obeys the rules of safety in the car, and they should do the same in the boat. Even though it’s a different environment with many new pleasures and a few reasonable risks, these are easy enough to mitigate when a few clear rules are understood.