It’s impossible to predict when your children will come to you and ask permission to captain their own small craft for a trip around the pond. Perhaps you will be vacationing and have a row boat that goes with your rental. Maybe you will be on a lake and your neighbors will offer the use of their canoe. One way or the other you know that if you spend even a small amount of time each year by the water your children eventually will want to experience the joy and freedom of paddling or rowing off leaving mom and dad behind. You can be sure in advance that when that day comes you can let them go without too much anxiety if over the years you have used some of this parenting advice for kids and boating safety.
- Trained personnel only. Even the most enthusiastic young boaters will easily understand that what must proceed taking a craft out on your own is sufficient experience in handling the kind of boat you plan to use. Parenting advice for kids and boat safety should begin with making sure that your children receive proper training in how to advance the boat, change direction, dock and take off from a dock and deal with the possibility of capsizing.
This basic instruction in boat usage is often available at summer camps or local boating programs. But even if your child has received training make certain that the first few times he or she takes the craft they do so with you or some other certified adult so that they can demonstrate their skills to your satisfaction. Having seen your child in action will give them a sense of accomplishment and pride and you a sense of security when they do take that row boat or canoe off on their own.
- Who else is in the boat. Good parenting advice for kids and boating safety is to make certain that when they take a boat out they do not go alone. Two people on any adventure is always much more secure an operation. But with young people it’s also important to let them know about how important it is not to overload the boat. Boats are engineered to handle a set amount of weight. Many boat makers will mark their craft to inform boaters how many people belong in their boat. Boats that are riding low in the water will become more difficult to propel, but more importantly low riding craft are more easily swamped or tipped.
Good parenting advice for kids and boating safety is to make sure kids understand how important it is to never overload a boat, even if it means leaving a friend or two out of this particular trip.
- Life jackets a must. As folks begin to get into the canoe or row boat, the most important thing they can do for their own personal safety is to put on a life jacket. Having life jackets in the boat is a nice touch and you may hear kids insist that the life jackets get in the way of their rowing or paddling. You can be as sympathetic as you like as long as you know that crucial parenting advice for kids and boating safety is to make sure that jackets go on . They are totally useless otherwise. No matter how well people in the boat may swim life jackets are essential. They can be used by people who may have been partially incapacitated, people who get tired trying to keep afloat and people who panic when their craft tips over. No one knows when those situations will arise or who they will effect, so everyone always wears a life jacket.
4Swimming skills. It’s not enough that children taking a boat out for a paddle or a row have on life jackets and know how to use a boat. Before anyone sets foot in a small craft they must demonstrate satisfactory swimming skills. These would include being able to tread water, float, swim for 100yards and change positions in the water. without these basic skills anyone, child or adult, is at risk in a boat that is going into deep water.
Certainly all of these restrictions may start to take the fun out of the whole idea of taking out a row boat for a fifteen minute trip. Still parents will recognize that by making it difficult for young people to access boats they will be keeping them safe and indicating to them how serious it is to take a boat out into deep water. Good parenting advice for kids and boating safety is to point out how important their lives really are and how quickly accidents can happen.
- Rules in the boat. Just as there are good bits of parenting advice for kids and boating safety before the boat ever leaves the dock, there are also important rules for parents to share with their young people that apply once the boat is underway. Kids should be taught to keep the boat balanced with equal weight at both ends and on both sides of the boat. This is of course to keep the boat from tipping or swamping especially if motorized craft pass by leaving a large wake behind.
Boaters should understand how important it is to keep hands and feet in the boat at all times. This is partly an issue of balancing the craft. But appendages over the edge of the boat can end up getting squashed against docks when boats move in or out of portage.
If it is necessary to change the rower or paddler, young people should be taught to keep low in the boat so as to keep the boat balanced. Only one person should move at a time in any small craft or you jeopardize its balance. In moving no one should ever stand straight up as this may de-stabilize the craft.
As young people take off from the dock it should only be with an understanding of where they will be headed and how long they will stay out. Parenting advice for kids and boating safety should always make them aware that while they may be having a great time, others on shore are awaiting their return.
Finally young people should understand that in the case of inclement weather coming up suddenly their goal is to get to shore quickly.
Boating is a wonderfully liberating activity and most young people love it. You will be glad you introduced them to such fun, you will be even more happy if you can send them off without anxiety because you have accepted and used
this parenting advice for kids and boating safety.