7 tips for safe boating with kids
Boating is typically a safe and fun activity to do with your whole family. However, to make sure everything goes smoothly, you should make sure you follow a few basic safety principles.
If you've got some newer additions to the family, make sure you check out these tips.
1. Make sure you have enough hands on deck
If you want to take your young children out on the water, don't go alone. You'll need an extra pair of hands to help look after the kids and to take over if something happens to you. Anyone responsible for supervising kids on the water should know how to swim and be familiar with basic boating and survival techniques.
Your kids should be wrapped up in life jackets while they're onboard.
2. Use the right life jackets
Your kids should be wrapped up in life jackets while they're onboard. This might mean waiting until your baby is old enough to fit one before going out boating. Make sure they are wearing the correct size appropriate to their age, as children can slip out of adult life jackets when they're in the water. Children's life jackets should be fitted with crotch straps to make sure they stay on properly.
Explain to your kids the importance of keeping their life jackets on and remember that they look to you as a role model, so be sure to wear yours to teach them good habits.
3. Stay cool
To avoid getting excessive sun or heat exposure, you should make sure there is some shade available on the boat. A bimini top is the best way of keeping the sun off little ones and stopping them from overheating, but you should also stock beach umbrellas and sun hats for extra protection.
Sunblock is another essential item, as sunburn can be a real risk out on the water.
4. Hold baby while cruising
The safest seat on the boat for younger children or infants is on your lap. Boats don't have the equivalent of booster seats, so the most secure spot for babies is in your arms.
5. Teach your kids
Explain the basic rules and procedures of boating before heading out. It's important to be clear about safety even from a very young age - simple things like staying seated and holding on while travelling are easy for younger family members to understand and follow. This is also an opportunity to share your passion for boating with your kids!
6. Be prepared for naptime
Having a secure, comfortable space where your kids can take a nap is essential. With all of the sun, fresh air and excitement, you might find your little ones drooping and in need of a quick sleep onboard in the afternoon.
You may also be glad to have a spot to put your baby down when you need to free up your hands for a practical task.
7. Bring lots of supplies
Make sure you bring along lots of snacks, fluids and anything else you'll need for your baby or toddler, including nappies and lotions. Wet wipes are perfect for kids of any age!
It's also a good idea to bring along some toys or other things to keep them entertained in case they get bored (kids might not be as interested in fishing as you).
Pack warmer clothes as well as swimming gear and towels - kids can get cold easily out on the water so you want to be ready if a chill breeze picks up.