Are you the type of parent who loves spending warmer months on the lake? Jet-skiing with your friends, getting pulled behind a boat on an innertube, and casting a line out for fish are beautiful memories you can share with your young ones.
But are these adventures safe? After such a stressful last year, it is easy to let anxiety keep us from being adventurous. “What if someone gets hurt?” and “how will my children behave out on the water?” are questions that may fill your mind before heading out the door. You aren’t alone. Many families are struggling to get back out. Knowing how to stay safe is a key part to keeping this anxiety in check. If you want to make this summer and fall something to remember, here’s how to stay safe while boating on the lake or ocean.
Life Jackets Are a Must
In the same way we intuitively grab our seatbelt before driving down the road, putting on a life jacket before getting on a boat or water-based automobile is a “non-negotiable.” Before heading out to the lake or ocean, have a conversation with your children and let them know how imperative it is to use a life jacket at all times.
Even if your child never leaves the boat, slipping and falling overboard is a real danger for individuals of all ages. Let them know you’re not trying to be a difficult parent, but you want them to enjoy themselves while also minding their safety.
And if they’re stubborn about the topic, get creative! Allow them to customize and pick a life jacket that incorporates their taste and interests. When your child has a sleek and stylish life vest of their own, they may be more likely to buckle up before getting into the water.
Sunscreen and Bug Repellant
Parents need to incorporate a skin-protecting product during their boating adventure. For children at play, the idea of sun-damaged skin and long-term health ramifications from overexposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) never cross their minds.
Parents should lather their children with a product that contains a sun-protectant factor (SPF) of 30 or higher to ensure their child’s safety and well-being. And if you’re spending the entire day on the water, re-apply your product every two to four hours.
Having a good bug repellant on hand is helpful, too. Bugs are more of an issue on shore, but they can still harass you out on the water, too.
Boating Rules and Regulations
The first rule of safe boating is keeping an eye on your children. Whether you’re sitting down for a snack or throwing your line out to see how the fish are biting, having a general awareness of your young one is vital.
More importantly, advise children to stay away from the railing surrounding the edges of the boat. With a simple stumble or fall, children can slip overboard. Knowing this, parents must set ground rules that prohibit their child from hanging off the edge of the boat, or worse, diving from the top deck.
Similarly, parents should consider radio communication and smart devices in the event of an emergency. Although many of us clutch our cellphones as a lifeline, it’s hard to find reliable service in remote locations. For this reason, we suggest installing a VHF radio on your boat to communicate with other watercraft in the area.
Even though this may seem overly cautious, having a VHF radio can mean the difference between having an enjoyable afternoon and one that ends with a medical emergency. Do yourself and your children a favor by utilizing radio technologies during your next boating adventure.
Fishing Safety and Precautions
Ahh, nothing beats catching a big fish on a warm summer day! Can you remember a time when you had the sun’s rays casting down the lake, creating a majestic glow on the water’s edge while reeling in a large catch?
With newfound parents showcasing their fishing skills to their children, we must practice good habits and safety precautions. While your mileage may vary, here are the best techniques to implore while fishing in front of your young one:
Keep your boat organized and clutter-free
Always wear a life jacket
Wear heavy gloves to avoid lure injuries
Check surrounding before casting
Have adults handle sharp lures and tackle
Encourage adult supervision while children are fishing
Use the buddy system
Develop a float plan
Consider fishing belts and harnesses
When you have all of these variables in place, fishing feels even better. Now you can sit back and watch your child reel in their first fish in total relaxation and awe. In that brief moment, you’ll see their little mind fill with joy and appreciation for an experience they won’t soon forget. Years from now, when they’re older and have children of their own, they’ll remember how you introduced them to the beauty of the water and boat-assisted fishing.
Boating Done Right
With these easy-to-implement tricks and tips for boating safety, spending your time on the lake is a breeze. Whether you want to escape the bland interior of your home this summer or you want to take in mother nature’s beauty, spending time on the water is truly remarkable.
Let your kids frolic and play under the sun’s rays while you watch from afar, reading a book and relaxing on your boat. What are you waiting for? Suit up, grab your snacks and head out to the lake today!