With warm weather around the corner, boaters from Florida to New York will soon hit the water in boats of all different sizes. Whether going tubing or just rafting up at a sandbar, swimming off of a boat can create a different set of challenges than just swimming in a pool, particularly when children are involved. By taking a little extra time for a discussion on boating and swimming safety, everyone on board will understand the dangers and how to avoid getting hurt.
Here are a few safety suggestions for making sure all children on board stay safe when swimming off of or near a boat:
Let Them Get Familiar With The Boat
Taking a few minutes to explain how life jackets work and where all of the safety equipment on board is can be a valuable lesson for kids and start a habit of being safe on the water. Following the “Three Inch Rule” when fitting a child for their life jacket will ensure it fits properly. Simply have the child put their arms at their sides and life upon the life jacket. If the life jacket can be lifted more than three inches above their ears, it does not fit properly.
Teach Kids To Be Aware Of The Boat While Swimming
Boats move around even when anchored. Whether it’s the tide changing or waves from other boats passing by, children swimming around the boat can easily be knocked unconscious if the hull hits them hard enough in the head. Make sure the kids swim at least several feet away from the boat as well as the propellers. The captain should also have taken the time before the trip to ensure that the vessel has had its proper maintenance to avoid any unnecessary issues.
Be Aware Of The Depth Of The Water
Many larger boats today, like a Prestige Yacht, for example, has a swim platform in back that kids love to dive from and into the water. Diving into the water when you don’t know the depth can result in serious injury to the head, neck, and back. If a child is going to be swimming from your boat and the opportunity to jump or dive is there, make sure to check the depth either on your electronics or by slowly getting into the water yourself.
Watch Your Surroundings
Children love to snorkel and chase each other in the water. Sometimes swimming near a boat means there are other boats are you that may be either arriving or leaving the vicinity. Adults on the boat should always keep an eye that the children do not swim out into the channel or where other boats may be operating.