Toddler Safety: Kids on a Boat

My turn to drive!

My turn to drive!

Both of our kids’ grandfathers own boats, so in our family, boat rides are a given in the warm summer months. Jasper and Magnolia each had their first ride before they could walk. And boat safety is a whole other animal when little kids who can’t swim are involved. Amps the potential “danger!” factor way up.

So, here, courtesy of Discover Boating, are a few tips on keeping toddlers safe on a boat:

Do a little childproofing — move all potentially dangerous boat paraphernalia (winches, ropes, gear boxes, flares) out of reach of the kids, but accessible to the captain or other people helping run the sail- or power boat in case they need them.

Drop some bucks on a good, age-appropriate life jacket for all kids who’ll be on board — They aren’t inexpensive; we just had to upgrade since the kids are older and weigh more, and we spent $70+ on each jacket. Ouch. But sticker shock beats the heck out of the alternative. Look for a jacket that will turn the child face-up in the water (there’s an extra floating flap behind the neck) and has a handle on the collar. Bring the child with you when you go to make your purchase to ensure a good fit.

Keep everyone hydrated (ie: pack plenty of drinks and bottles!), especially if you’ll be out on a long ride or sail.

And have fun! We’ve been loving our rides this summer (thanks, Grampie!).


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