A family houseboating vacation is a great way to spend time together and make unforgettable memories. As any parent knows, however, it helps to take extra precautions for safety when bringing children along. At Forever Houseboats, we believe that kids should be taught the tenets of boating and water safety from a very young age. We’ve compiled some of the key essentials all kids should learn about boating safety.
Always Wear a Life Jacket
Life jackets are not optional. Children should always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket or personal flotation device while onboard a boat or around open bodies of water. In Utah and Arizona, state law requires all children 12 to and under to wear a personal flotation device while on a boat. The only exception is if when children are inside the houseboat cabin while it is securely anchored or staked. Most other states have similar laws.
Teaching children to swim is one of the best preventative measures you can take to ensure they are safe when boating or near water. Kids who swim regularly in pools, however, may not realize how different the controlled environment of a swimming pool is significantly different from the open water. They should learn to expect uneven surfaces, potential currents, and changing weather on open water.
Make sure that your children know that the houseboat engines need to be off and the boat must be fully secured before anyone can go swimming or play in the water. It may be helpful to give them lookout duties so they can be actively engaged while you anchor and stake the boat.
Sun Safety is Part of Boating Safety
Painful sunburns and heat stroke are two of the most common boating related injuries. Safe boating includes wearing sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses as well as taking breaks in the shade and staying hydrated. All sunscreens, even waterproof formulas, need to be reapplied every couple of hours and after playing in the water.
Remember: Kids learn by example. The best way to teach your kids boating safety principles is to practice them yourself. Ready to embark on a safe houseboating adventure with your family? Contact us today.