Boat safety for kids 101

At the top of any list regarding boat safety for kids of course, are child life preservers. Not only do you need to make sure you have enough for every passenger, but the PFDs need to be the right size, securely fastened, and kids, even strong swimmers, should always be wearing them. Even though boating with kids requires extra attention to boat safety, it can still be a lot of fun and having comfortable, secure life jackets for all is the first step.

Another aspect of boat safety for kids is to scout the weather and water conditions well ahead of time. You do not want to be surprised by wind, waves, and lightning resulting from a sudden thunderstorm. Check the forecast and if the weather could change and make things rough on the water, wait and try another day. If the kids still insist on a boat ride, don’t go far and be ready to cut the trip short.

Go over all of the boat rules before getting on the water. When boating with kids, they may need to be reminded of simple things like when or if they can stand, what not to touch, etc. This is especially important during any cold water conditions.

And if one of the boat activities for kids is fishing, spend a little time covering aspects of fishing safety.  For example, by altering casting techniques such as the rod angle and stressing additional awareness of potential snags and ears may lurk behind you, boat safety for kids can be improved. Often, additional tips for water safety for kids can be found in a little booklet that some states provide when you renew your boat registration or fishing license.

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.