Safety Tips for Boating with Children and Families
Guest Post By: Mike Johnston
The pandemic has changed the travel plans of many, and with few destinations open to short-term visits without quarantine or similar restrictions, many families have decided to adapt. One of the safest travel alternatives for this summer has turned out to be boating. It combines quality family time away from city crowds, allows you to practice social distancing, and it provides essential time in nature, perfect for reducing stress and family bonding.
First things first, though, especially if you’re planning to visit a remote destination on your boat, you need to cover your safety bases. Here, we’ll mention a few of those most vital safety essentials you should consider when you start preparing for your trip. These will help you keep your entire family safe and provide you with the peace of mind you need to relax and unwind during your adventure.
Get the Needed License and Approvals
Before you head out with your family, you should check if your boating license is still valid or if you need to take any additional tests to renew it before you go. Then, you and your other family members can take a boat safety course to help you refresh your knowledge and to master the latest safety procedures, if there are any new ones to add to your existing arsenal.
Depending on your destination and your vessel, you should obtain the necessary approvals from your family doctor and the local law enforcement. Every boat has its limits, so it’s up to you to respect yours.
Prepare Safety Gear for the Kids
Prevention is the main aspect of your boating mindset that will allow you to stay safe and always protect your family. This is why safety gear for kids is vital for your trip, and you should consider investing in the most effective, trusted models for your entire family. Start with floaties and inflatable vests, which will help your kids master the art of swimming, all the while staying safe.
Finally, don’t forget to prepare your life jackets for everyone on board, and to show your kids how to put them on and how to use them if they are old enough. Practice before you set sail so that your kids are familiar with the procedure and the equipment.
Make Sure Your Boat is Safe Inside and Out
Teaching your kids the right skills to stay safe on your boat is one part of the safety equation, but you also need a reliable vessel on your hands to truly take this trip feeling secure and confident. Despite your years of experience, you should take your boat to a professional and make sure that any dings, scrapes, and damage will be taken care of prior to your trip.
More often than not, various kinds of damage require professional gelcoat repair that will not just restore your boat, but it will also make it more resilient to future damage and increase your safety. With better resistance and a stable boat in excellent condition, your decision to take your kids boating will be a safe way to enjoy and have fun – so regular maintenance should be your top priority, especially before each trip you take.
Talk to Your Kids to Prepare Them
Do your little ones know how to swim? Do they know how to behave on the boat, which items they can use, and which items they should let you handle? Have you taught your older kids how to use the radio to call for help? Everyone on the boat should be able to do that in case of an emergency.
Show your kids their assigned seats when you’re boating far away from the shore, and of course, teach them how to manage moving on the boat if there are waves. Teach them to participate in preparing the boat itself by clearing the space of any toys and clutter. By contributing to your family’s safety, your kids will be more aware of the need to stay secure and they’ll be glad to participate.
Choose Your Destination Carefully
Every little detail matters when you’re about to set sail with your kids. Of course, boating can be a low-risk travel opportunity when you’re versed at it, and when your kids also have ample experience and know exactly how to behave. However, every time you choose a new destination to visit with your boat, you need to explore every possibility.
For example, check the weather forecast for the time of your travel, for your destination. Use the forecast to adapt your schedule and to make sure you’re safely docked in case of a storm. Always bring navigational charts and download maps on your phone to be able to safely navigate your boat, no matter what.
As a parent, you fully understand the importance of traveling safely with your kids. Despite the chaos caused by the pandemic, you can still organize a safe and exciting getaway for your whole family, especially one as restorative and beautiful as an offshore adventure. Just follow these basic safety precautions, and you’ll have a wonderful, carefree time with your whole family enjoying your vacation.
All images supplied by Mike Johnston (Except where captioned otherwise.).
About the author: Mike Johnston is an avid blogging enthusiast and experienced freelance writer with a focus in real estate, home improvement, small business, and sustainable living.