Kids and Boating
Growing up my Grandfather and Father had aluminium boats with 6hp motors. I remember many trips to Hoover targeting walleye in the spring, crappie and bass in the summer and fall.
The thing I remember the most was that stupid life jacket they made me wear. Big orange overstuffed horse shoe around my neck preventing me from looking down. The impossible waist strap that had the two rings that I couldn't secure or remove. Hated it! But they knew better and made me wear it. Jacket have evolved dramatically since my childhood.
We started taking our son out on the boats at 7 months old. Our first trip was in our old 15' ski boat with a 50hp 2 cycle motor on the back. He jumped when the motor came to life but didn't cry, just looked at it. We spent the afternoon cruising and playing on the beach. He never fussed about the neoprene covered infant jacket he wore.
Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death in the world. Unfortunately, children make up a large percentage of these drowning accidents particularly if they are under 9 years of age. This rick greatly increases while boating.
Make sure kids are wearing a life jacket whenever underway. It's not just smart it's the law.
The United States Coast Guard requires a child under the age of 13 to wear an approved life jacket when underway, unless in a cabin or below deck.
Ensure the jackets are the right type for each child on the boat. Type one and two will keep a person's head upright and would be appropriate for a non-swimmer. A type three is more comfortable for play and watersports.
Proper sizing is critical, if the jacket won't keep the child buoyant it serves no purpose. Each child must have a properly sized life jacket. You can find the size information on the label inside the jacket.
Below are what the old and new labels look like with a description of the symbols.
Kids often complain about having to wear their life jackets. Get them invested in theirs by letting them pick them out. Online options will offer them a tremendous selection while brick and mortar store let them try on the jacket. Make sure it the right one for them and is comfortable. Lastly, set the example, if they see you wearing them they'll be more likely to fuss about it.