Boating Safety: How to Keep Children Safer on the Water
Boating is a different environment for young children, and they need to understand why they should follow the rules.
Did you notice the “r” attached to the word “Safe” in the headline? It’s not possible to guarantee the safety of any adult or child in or around water. There is only one thing you can do, and that is to help everyone learn to be SAFER around water.
This is even more important if you’re taking your children out on a boat. It’s an enjoyable pastime, which is why there were nearly 12 million recreational boats registered in the United States in 2017. The potential for danger increases when we take our children out on the water in them. Here are ways to keep children safer on the water.
Lead by example
Follow the leader. It’s a game we all play as children, and you can put it to good use when teaching your children about boating safety. Kids like to learn this way. It’s difficult to convince a child to wear a life jacket when you’re not wearing one. Make it a habit of putting yours on. Gamify it for your child and make sure they see and hear the click.
Be sure to purchase certified life jackets that properly fit your children. In this guide, you can find how to choose a PFD or life jacket.
Help children to understand the “why” behind safety procedures
Children are often too young to understand the concept of common sense. Telling them it’s important to stay away from a boat propeller isn’t the same as taking time to show them why. Bringing them up close to a boat propeller out of the water and allowing them to touch it helps them understand why they should stay away from the propeller.
Talking to your child can reinforce what you’re showing them. Now it’s time to take it further and ask them if they see how it could even be a safety concern even when the propeller isn’t spinning.
Storytelling is a powerful way to help children put new concepts into their worldview. Children may already automatically obey your safety rules when they’re passengers in the family car. Boating is a new and exciting environment for a child. It’s important to make sure they know and understand the rules before embarking on this new adventure.
Teach your children to swim and float
Every child should learn how to swim. This is even more important when they’re out on the water in a boat. Basic swimming techniques and the ability to float will help them if they end up in the water.
Our mission is to teach families to love swimming and to become safer, more comfortable, and more responsible around water. We believe it’s a necessary skill. Learn more about “Safer 3” approach to swimming lessons. If you want to take your child out on a boat, contact us for more information about our year round swim lessons.