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Safety - Boats and Young Children

Children and boats are a great combination, out in the fresh air, learning about the world around them and having fun.

As the Skipper, you are responsible for all those on your boat, but children
need extra care aboard the boat and around water.

Here are some important points to consider, before you cast off

  • children should wear life jackets at all times
  • a life jacket must fit properly; a child will slip out of an adult's size life jacket in the water. Life jackets fitted with crotch straps are essential for young children
  • use a child safety harness for young children when appropriate
  • teach children about the dangers and risks when boating
  • work through an emergency plan for all those on board, thinking
    about situations like person overboard, capsize, running aground,
    fire and collision
  • don't go out alone with young children. You need to have another adult aboard who can cope if something happens to you
  • make sure everyone is sitting safely and holding on when travelling
  • alcohol affects judgement, balance and survival time in the water.
    With children on your boat, your alcohol consumption will effect their survival chances as well as your own
  • anyone supervising young children on the water must know how to swim and be familiar with survival techniques

Remember that children look to adults for examples of appropriate behaviour. Wear your life jacket and they will wear theirs. Teach children
the pleasures and the risks of boating and they will have taken the first
step on the way to becoming Responsible Skippers themselves.

If you plan to take children boating, it is your responsibility to ensure they have the appropriate survival skills. Make sure they learn to swim and teach them boating skills and survival techniques in the water.

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