How Can I Keep My Family Safe on a Boat?

How Can I Keep My Family Safe on a Boat?
On the open water, danger can strike at any time. Taking a sail or cruise is a wonderful way to spend a day, but parents cannot lose sight of potential hazards. Before setting out, here are some key ideas for keeping your family safe on a boat.

Preparation is Key

Most parents don’t ever want to think about the possibility of something bad happening to their loved ones. Unfortunately, as we learned when we discussed the drowning death of actress Naya Rivera a few months ago, tragedy can affect anyone.

Before hitting the water, parents simply must be prepared for the worst. This will help to prevent the worst from actually happening. So where does one start?

Help Keep Your Family Safe on a Boat

Check the Weather Before Casting Off

First and foremost, forward thinking is your family’s best defense. A storm can cause rough waves, which can toss the boat about, putting the passengers in grave danger. Lightning can add the risk of electric shock drowning to the mix.

To help avoid these hazards, be sure to check the weather before heading out to sea. If the forecast is clear, your family will be at much less of a risk out on the open water.

Heat Can Be Just as Dangerous as Rain

Storms can be scary, but it’s also important to remember the risk of a blazing hot sun. If you or your loved ones are exposed to extreme heat for hours at a time, it can be quite dangerous. Heat stroke and severe burns are nothing to take lightly. Instead, be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen. Kids should wear hats.

If there is an indoor section to your vessel, be sure to have the kids take frequent breaks. If the sun is too intense, consider calling it a day early. Above all, stay hydrated. On a hot day, the human body can sweat out a surprising amount of fluids. Dehydration can be a real hazardous to anyone’s health.

Set Ground Rules Before Boating

Once again, this next tip to keep your family safe on a boat involves preparation. Before you cast off, the adults should be sure to set general boating safety rules. These aren’t just for kids, but will apply to all passengers. It’s important that everyone follows these rules in order to prevent needless accidents.

These are just a few suggestions:

  • No running onboard the vessel
  • When on the water, keep your hands and feet in the boat at all times.
  • Only swim in areas that are explicitly designated for swimming.
  • Don’t dive into the water. You never know how deep (or shallow!) it may be.

Safety Tips for Boating with Babies

No one will know your family better than you, so be sure to adjust these rules to your particular situation. Additionally, adults should practice active supervision at all times. Put simply, active supervision requires a responsible adult to keep a close, focused eye on the children at all times.

While on a boat, this is especially important. The active supervisor should avoid distractions like phones, books or even conversations. Ideally, this will be an adult who is not in charge of steering the vessel.

Don’t Forget the Life Jackets

Unseen Drowning Danger: Wear a Life Jacket When You’re On the Ice

Finally, life jackets are crucial for keeping a family safe while boating. No matter their age, every single person onboard should be wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket. To learn more, be sure to visit the official website for the Coast Guard. There you’ll find additional advice about floatation devices and boating safety. Good luck and have a great time on the water!