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Tips for Boating with Children

Do you remember learning about water safety during your first time near water or on a boat?

If you were like most kids at a young age, you won’t remember too much, and what you do remember might be a blur. You may remember a parent telling you to close your eyes as she slathers on a thick coat of strong smelling sunscreen or another parent telling you to put your life jacket on and stay in the boat. But…


For most of us, safety measures don’t make the list of highly memorable features of our first boat ride. And that’s ok, taking in new surroundings with heightened senses is what kids do, so learning about a lifejacket might not be all that exciting or seem important.

Nonetheless, it is vital for children to know and learn how to be safe when boating. Parvey & Cavenago hopes this guide gives you a little refresher on water safety and helpful boating tips for parents:

  1. Always require your child to wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard around open bodies of water, while on boats or during water sports (if he or she is still trying to get the hang of swimming).
    1. Talk about following basic boat rules with children such as keeping their limbs inside and not running or jumping on a boat. You can help them digest this information by asking them why they might think these rules are important.
      1. Children need to be aware that swimming in open water is different from a pool, and it’s important to swim only in areas designated for swimming.
    2. A proper life jacket must:
      1. Fit snug without reaching the child’s chin or ears; otherwise it may be that the straps are too loose or the life jacket is too big.
      2. Infant appropriate life jackets – U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety advises no babies to travel on any type of water vessel until they weight enough to wear an approved personal flotation device (PFD). Follow this link to find what life jacket is right for your child:
  • Instead of bringing a car seat onboard that will sink instantly if the boat were to capsize, hold your baby (in its life jacket) while wearing your own life jacket.
  1. Keep your child warm; and don’t risk hypothermia. Wrap them up tightly in a dry blanket or towel if you see that they’re wet, cold or shivering.
  2. Remember that a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD) can never be replaced with swimming aids or toys such as water wings, noodles or paddle boards.
  3. Encourage older kids to enroll in a boat safety class.
  4. Local hospitals and fire departments offer CPR training. Take lessons and relax knowing that you have the skills needed to save your child’s life if it comes to the worst.
  5. Supervise children in and around water; teens should be supervised when operating a water vessel.
  6. Remember water vessels are vehicles: Be responsible and stay sober while boating.


Informing your family about the safety risks and extra precautions that can be taken helps prevent injuries or death during boating. Parvey & Cavenago encourages you to keep your boat’s safety features updated by getting a FREE safety check for your water vessels every year by The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons. For more information click and click “get a free safety check.”


If you or a loved one has sustained an injury or death due to the reckless boating of another party, call Parvey & Cavenago today.

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