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Boating Safety for Children

Summer is a time when families spend some time outdoors, which promotes a healthy lifestyle and creates a greater family bond. This should be a priority for families and boating is an activity for every family member to enjoy. With this in mind, teaching your family, especially the kids, basic boating safety is an essential step in planning for a summer water adventure.
 
Below are simple tips you can follow to ensure everyone's safety on board, children included.
 
Life Jackets
 
When it comes to being on a boat, the best way to keep your kids safe is to be a good example. You'll find it difficult to convince a child to wear a life jacket by simply telling them that they have to. Lead by example. When your kids see you consistently have a life jacket on, chances are, they will follow suit. 
 
Life jackets are an important piece of equipment that can save both your and your children's lives. Always have your children wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while they are on boats or enjoying water sports.
 
Boat operators are required to have a functioning life jacket for everyone onboard, especially children. The most common injuries in water accidents are caused by drowning. Wearing your life jacket will considerably minimize the chances that you and your kids will drown in a water accident.
 
In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard warns that babies are not allowed to travel on a boat, including all types of recreational water vessels if they are not at the proper weight to put on an approved personal flotation device (PFD).
 
Buddy System
 
When on a boat, keeping children inside the vessel is a usual problem. They find it more fun to hang their arms over the side and play with the water splashing up on the edge. This may not pose a danger in the open water, but it could be risky in the marina. Since you won't be able to watch them at all times while operating the boat, the best way to keep them safe is to engage older kids by incorporating a buddy system.
 
If you have a large boating day out, ask older kids to help keep the little ones safe. Kids normally like to be helpful because it gives them a feeling of being trusted by their parents or other adults.
 
 
Weather
 
When on the water, changing weather can cause an interruption in boating fun. That is why it is very important to know the weather before going out into the open waters. Children can easily get cold, which causes discomfort. In extreme cases, when temperatures drop, and the kids are wet, they can suffer from hypothermia. Be sure to equip your boat with dry blankets and towels and other items to keep them warm and dry.
 
Adult Supervision
 
When it comes to kids being around water, grown-ups have a huge responsibility in keeping them safe. There should be at least one adult focused on the kids to ensure their safety. In case of a water-related accident, being able to perform CPR is a must. 
 
Adults should teach the kids about the difference between open bodies of water and a pool when it comes to safety. The ground in a lake, a river, or an ocean can be uneven and slippery so making them understand how being in these bodies of water means and why keeping everybody safe is essential.
 
When kids are swimming in an open body of water, it is important to have an adult look after them. Kids could get tired or have a cramp, so there should always be a grown-up to supervise them and see that their needs are met.
 
These simple boating safety practices should be on top of your list when planning a boat trip with your family, especially having kids on board.