6 Essential Boating Safety Tips for Parents and Grandparents
For families in Georgia’s Lake Country, boating is a major element of summertime fun. To ensure that you and your loved ones continue to enjoy summer boating for decades to come, you have to understand the rules of boat safety.
Wear a life jacket, and make sure it fits.
This tip is first for a reason. Not only is it one of the most important rules for boat safety, it is also too frequently ignored. Too many people skip life jackets because their children are good swimmers, but there are a hundred different kinds of accidents that can happen out on the water that will interfere with your child’s ability to swim.
Get a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket (not a tube or water wings) and make sure it is buckled up and fits snugly—e.g., it shouldn’t hit your child’s ears or chin when they raise their arms in a touchdown signal. Don’t bring babies out onto a boat until they are large enough to wear their own snugly-fitting floatation device, and always hold them in your arms while wearing your own life jacket — car seats sink.
Go over the rules in depth.
Explain boat safety guidelines like no running on the boat, and always stay inside while the motor’s running, to children in advance, but explain the reasons behind the rules, too. Kids are more likely to remember and obey if they understand what could happen if they don’t.
Don’t drink and boat.
This boating safety rule is pretty simple. Fatal boating accidents happen every summer, and most of them are due to boating under the influence.
Take a CPR class.
Learning CPR is useful, and it can actually be a fun activity for the whole family.
Choose swimming spots wisely.
Be careful about letting children swim in areas with lots of jet skis and water-skiers zooming past, and make sure they understand that swimming in a lake is not the same as swimming in a pool. There are sunken trees, rocks, and other unseen obstacles under the water, so it’s important to always be cautious and to let an adult check out a swimming area first.
Think carefully about what responsibilities your children can handle.
Whether it’s letting your teenager drive the boat, or letting your child swim without you by their side, you need to carefully and honestly consider if your child is prepared for that level of responsibility. If you decide they are, go over the rules, then ask them to repeat the rules back. They will probably be annoyed, but it will help them remember what to do to stay safe.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read over these very important boating and water safety tips. We wish everyone a fun and safe summer on the lake!
If you are looking for marine or personal watercraft insurance, please feel free to call us (706) 991-9832 or contact us online by clicking here.
Donnan Oyler, President