Boating with kids is a great experience because of the abundance of activities. Some of the most notable boating activities with children include visiting the beach, bird watching, watersports, and visiting waterfront restaurants. However, children must understand basic concepts before stepping on a boat to remain safe. Here are 8 things to teach your kids before boarding the boat. 

The Importance Of A Life Jacket

Without question, a life jacket is the most important safety device and should be worn by children at all times. 

Unfortunately, unexpected accidents occur. For this reason, children should understand that they will be required to wear a PFD on the boat at all times. 

Remember, setting the precedent up front will avoid controversy down the road. If the routine is set to wear a life jacket, less grief will be received in return. 

How To Call For Help

No matter if you’re in your home or on a boat, it is important to teach a child or children how to call for help.

Yes, situations do occur when one parent is operating the vessel and an unforeseen event occurs. Some of the possibilities include becoming incapacitated, falling overboard, or a severe injury. 

Two of the best methods to get in touch with help are via a cell phone and VHF radio. Importantly, the kids should understand how to make contact with emergency services over both the phone and radio. 

The Benefits Of Sunscreen

Undoubtedly, the reflection of the sun off the water further enhances exposure, putting your skin at risk of severe burns. 

Similar to a life jacket, kids should be made aware of the importance of sunscreen. Before casting the lines, children should be well coated in sunblock. 

Remember, this is easily overlooked once you’re already underway. Also, spray sunscreen is not something you want all over your boat. Without question, the overspray will leave a slippery sheen on decks, stainless steel, glass, and vinyl seats. 

Remain In The Boat While Underway

Children, especially young children, tend to do erratic and unexpected things out of the blue. 

Providing a quick lesson before you get underway is important to express the dangers of going overboard. 

Of course, you don’t want to scare the kids but instead create awareness. Remember, kids should be seated flat and never lean over the side while the boat is in motion. You don’t need to be performing a recovery mission because the kids didn’t know the dangers. 

The Dangers Of A Boat Propeller

The dangers of a propeller apply to both children and adults. As the operator, it is imperative to never have the engine running while kids or children are getting in or out of the water. 

I have seen a boat slip into reverse because of a backpack falling on the throttles. Fortunately, nobody was swimming, but friends were seated on the transom. 

Beyond an object putting a running motor in gear, kids can walk to the help and playfully shift the throttle. 

A spinning propeller spells disaster. The kids should know to never enter the water until the engine is off and are instructed to do so by the driver. 

Staying Hydrated 

Unfortunately, adults and children fall victim to mild or severe dehydration frequently while out boating. 

A kid is unlikely to understand the early signs of dehydration. Therefore, as a parent, it is essential to stress the importance of drinking water. 

Remaining hydrated starts before stepping on the boat. Have the kids drink water ahead of time and while you’re out boating. 

Remember, the combination of the sun and wind quickly pulls fluid levels from your body. If you stay on top of it early, kids are less likely to become dehydrated while boating. 

Protecting Eyes From The Sun 

Similar to your skin, the eyes are also at risk of burns from the sun’s harmful UV rays. One of the best ways to combat this issue is to wear sunglasses. 

Again, preparing ahead of time is critical. Before the boating season, shop for sunglasses that fit your children well. I buy my kids cheap sunglasses because I know they will lose them or break them. However, wearing sunglasses, despite being cheap, is better than not wearing sunglasses. 

Additionally, get the kids used to wearing sunglasses. When the kids are used to wearing glasses ahead of a boat trip, they will have no issue putting them on while on the water. 

Educate Kids On The Experience Of Boating

Part of boat safety includes teaching your kids about boating so they do not become fearful. 

Without a doubt, the combination of a loud motor, waves, and sometimes stormy weather can easily frighten children. 

You don’t want to create fear in kids because they will be reluctant to get back out on the water again. With that said, educate children who are new to boating on the sounds and motion of the vessel. Importantly, express how fun the day will be. 

Boat Safety Is Imperative With Children

Boat safety is important with and without children, but as the operator throwing kids into the mix increases the workload. For this reason, making kids understand how to remain safe ahead of time will lessen the burden. You can’t expect a kid to know to remain seated while the boat is underway if you didn’t tell them ahead of time. The same applies to all 8 safety measures listed above.