From the Sea Tow Foundation:

Life Jackets Are Law. All children under 13 years of age must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while the vessel is being operated, unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin on board. The  Sea Tow Foundation suggests letting the kids pick out their own life jackets as long as you make sure they fit. You might want to keep a couple handy for friends.

Safety Starts Ashore. Get the kids in the habit of putting on sunblock, a hat and their life jacket even before you get to the boat. That way, they’re protected if they accidentally should tumble off the dock into the water.

The Captain’s in Charge. The adult who is driving the boat should give the kids a safety briefing before leaving the dock. Make it a point to tell them that there can only be one captain, and it’s important to follow orders quickly and quietly.

Ahoy, Matey. Kids get a bigger kick out of a boat trip when you make them your First Mate. Before you leave, show them where you’re going on a chart. While under way, teach them how to work the chart plotter. In many states, children as young as 12 can take a boating safety course to be able to operate the boat with your supervision.

Places, Please! Give the kids assigned seats on the boat while docking, so that they don’t accidentally block the driver’s view. Make sure they know to keep their fingers and toes inside during this process!

For more tips on boating with kids, visit Sea Tow’s Captain’s Classroom by CLICKING HERE.

File a Float Plan. Before heading out with the family for a day of fun on the water, it’s important to file a float plan and leave it with a responsible person. That way, if you should wind up being overdue on your return, someone ashore will know to alert the authorities. Filling out the float plan with your kids can be a fun and educational way to start your boating adventure. For a blank form, CLICK HERE.

Get the Kids into the Spirit: Even when you’re ashore, you can help to get the kids enthusiastic about boating by hooking them up with some fun boating activities. Visit the National Safe Boating Council’s Boating Safety Sidekicks website for cartoons, quizzes, games and more by CLICKING HERE.

Related Video: Children and Boating Safety


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