In 2021, 658 people died and 2,641 were injured in the United States during recreational boating. Although boating is a typically safe and fun activity to do with your kids, you need to make sure your family follows a few basic safety tips to ensure a smooth journey.
Getting a top surf boat that has all the safety features you need is the first step in keeping your kids safe. The second one is setting safety guidelines for your kids. The following are some safety tips you should follow on a surf boat trip.
Enrol in a Boater Safety Course
Although not everyone is required to take a boater safety course, it can help make your boat ride safer and smoother. In fact, many states have made it mandatory to take a boater’s safety course, depending on your age.
For example, in Tennessee, it is required that you take a boater’s safety course if you were born on or after January 1, 1989, and operate a vessel with more than 8.5 horsepower.
But even if you were born before that time, we highly advise you to take the course since it is a good way to prepare yourself for any issues you may face on the water.
In Tennessee, kids as young as 12 years of age can take this course, which is a practical way to ensure their safety while boating.
Wear a Coast Guard-Approved Personal Flotation Device
It is important that your child wear a life jacket at all times when in the boat, even if they are good swimmers. A properly fitted life jacket is snug, comfortable, and will not wiggle about when you move your body.
As a parent, you should know that children learn by example, so you should make sure to wear a life jacket so that they emulate you. By showing proper respect for water and making your kids understand the hazards they can face when boating, you can ingrain in them the habit of wearing a life jacket.
The life jacket must be certified by the national water safety agency and perfectly fit your child. It should also include leg straps, collars, a handle, and a whistle for small children. They should wear it from the moment they arrive at the dock.
Create Safety Rules
A child’s safety is as good as the boat they are sailing in. As such, when looking for wakeboard boats for sale, make sure they are equipped with the latest security features and that you’re buying them from a qualified and reputable seller.
Establish non-negotiable, clear-cut rules that everyone on the boat, including your kids, must strictly follow at all costs. These rules should be followed at the marina and while you are at sea. This includes wearing life jackets, not being alone on deck, not touching anything that is out of bounds, and more.
Your children should know where all the emergency equipment is located (like a distress signal or fire extinguisher) and how to use it in case of an incident. Repeat safety rules every time you appear on the dock with your children and practice emergency drills for everything, from fire incidents to man overboard. You should also teach older children how to use the radio in case of an emergency.
Make sure that your children stay away from certain potentially dangerous areas of the boat, such as the propeller, and remain seated when the boat is moving. Also, let them know they cannot enter the water without their dad’s or mom’s permission.
Learn CPR and First Aid
Your child’s safety is a priority, so it is essential that you learn CPR and first aid before embarking on a surf boat adventure with your kids. If your kids are in their teens, they can take a course, too. It takes just a few seconds for a person to drown, but knowing how to resuscitate can save your child’s life.
There are several other courses you can consider taking for water-related emergencies and harmful marine life. These only take a few hours or less, are quite affordable, and are priceless when it comes to your family’s safety.
Beware of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious risk on boats. This is a colourless and odourless gas that emits from engines and other appliances and can be deadly when accumulated in the small confines of a boat.
To ensure there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, regularly inspect the boat’s exhaust systems, ensure good ventilation, and install carbon monoxide detectors. You should warn your children not to go near the exhaust system of the boat, where the gas can accumulate.
Let your children know about the symptoms of CO poisoning, always keep an eye on them, and respond quickly if you suspect exposure.
Stay Away from Other Boats
Do not venture too close to other boats while speeding. When approaching another vessel, reduce the speed so there is no chance of you bumping into it.
When towing someone behind the boat, stay at least 100 feet away from other boats. This will prevent accidents caused by the wake of other vessels. If someone in your family is thrown off balance, they can slam into the side of the boat and suffer severe injuries. In addition, if your boat slams into another vessel, they can also drown.
Hence, it is best practice to stay 100 feet away from other vessels when moving, particularly when children are onboard.
Remember, the safety of children should be a top priority for everyone on board. By following these simple tips, you can create a more enjoyable and safe boating experience.