Boating Safety Advice for Children


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Photo courtesy of bartlettboatclub.com

Now that Memorial Day is officially in the books, boating season is in full swing. Here in Northern Kentucky, many individuals and families will spend at least a weekend or two on the water this summer. From boating on the Ohio River to water skiing on Lake Cumberland, there are plenty of great spots within driving distance for you and the kids to cool off and have a little fun.

Before setting out, however, you might want to take a few minutes to read through the following list of safety tips from the Sea Tow Foundation to help keep your children safe while boating. Safety first!

  1. Be sure the life jacket fits: Sizes are based on a child’s weight so make sure he/she has not outgrown their life jacket over the winter. Also, be aware there are special life jackets for children that are infants.
  2. Be sure all kids on board are wearing life jackets: The U.S. Coast Guard requires that all children under the age of 13 must wear an approved life jacket unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.
  3. Let kids pick their life jackets: Most kids don’t like wearing life jackets so get them invested by letting them pick it out for themselves. Kids are also more likely to wear a life jacket if you are too, so be a good role model.
  4. Safety starts in the parking lot: Rather than waiting until everyone gets on the boat, get kids in the habit of putting on sunblock, a hat, and a life jacket in the parking lot.
  5. Keep everything “shipshape”: Once you board the boat, makes sure everything is tucked or stowed away neatly to prevent accidents.
  6. Give a pre-cruise safety lesson: Before you leave the dock, remind children that it’s important to follow the captain’s orders quickly and quietly and be sure to set a few basic rules for the ride.
  7. Radio check: Make sure everyone knows how to operate the boat’s VHF radio in case there is an emergency.
  8. Careful when towing: Designate an adult to be an official watcher if you are towing kids on a tube, skis or wake-board behind the boat. Teach kids the hand signals for speeding up, slowing down, or stopping.
  9. Places, please!: Give kids an assigned seat while docking and remind them to keep their hands and feet inside the boat.

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