In 2018, there were 166 children under the age of 13 with reported injuries while boating*. If you’re planning to rent a boat, it is important to take the proper precautions to keep your child safe when on, in, or even near the water. Please remember that life jackets are a vital part of keeping you and your family safe when renting a recreational water vessel.
There are numerous external factors involved with swimming and boating. Swimming in open waters presents unique risks such as river currents, wake, and undertows in the ocean that you do not experience in a swimming pool. If you are riding a PWC, Canoe or Kayak, you might find yourself tipped over. If you are enjoying skiing, tubing or wake surfing, you will potentially fall. Not only can a life jacket protect you from drowning, but it can also save your life if you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to swim.
In addition to wearing a life jacket, an important safety precaution is to enroll your children (and yourself!) in swimming lessons. While we should avoid relying solely on a child’s swimming abilities when in the water, swimming lessons can be an effective way to teach children basic techniques that could potentially save their life. This lesson also applies to adults.
As a parent, familiarize yourself with the body of water in which your child will be swimming. Most importantly, ensure your child is wearing a properly fitted USCG approved life jacket at all times. There is never an exception for a child under 13 to not be wearing a life jacket when swimming in the open water or participating in activities near the water. It is the law. As an adult, life jacket wear is just as important, even if you think you don’t need one.
Knowing the signs of drowning is also an important part of safety preparation. Contrary to how it is often portrayed in entertainment, most drowning instances are quiet. We encourage you to take the time to study these four signs of drowning provided by Please Wear It:
We hope you and your family stay safe on the water this boating season! To stay up to date on boating safety, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
*USCG Recreational Boating Statistics, 2018 https://www.uscgboating.org/library/accident-statistics/Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2018.pdf
Locate swimming lessons near you: https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/swimming/swim-lessons
Watch our training video on children on board boats: