Boat Safety Tips for Kids in Australia
Boating is a family affair for many Australians, so it makes sense to begin teaching kids boat safety from a young age. We’ve collected our top 10 tips for keeping young kids safe on the water.
Be an example
It may take a little extra brainpower, but showing your kids how it’s done will reinforce boat safety for them in a big way. It may sound obvious, but studies show kids learn best from simply watching how their parents act in different situations. This is why it is vital for you to set an example for your children. After all, if you’re not wearing a life jacket, why should they?
Establish ground rules
Go through the rules clearly and carefully, just like you would at home when teaching your child to stay away from hot stoves or other hazardous things. Establishing a clear set of safety procedures goes a long way towards keeping kids safe on the water. Yes, a propeller is a dangerous part of any boat, but not if you’ve taught your children to stay away from it.
Make it fun
When done regularly, your child’s muscle memory will be reinforced. You can also perform ‘dry’ runs, while the boat is moored or docked. Pretend there has been some kind of an emergency and give your kids the chance to find their life jacket, put it on and run through the full safety procedure. Explaining safety procedures doesn’t have to be boring. There are heaps of great games online that teach safe boating procedures for kids, like this one.
Prepare for the worst
It’s important to know what to do in the unlikely event of a boat capsizing. Make sure your child understands the following:
1. Where emergency items are stored on the boat.
2. How to use radios, EPIRBs and flares and when to use these items.
3. If a boat capsizes, always stay with it – a big boat is easier for rescuers to see.
4. If you’re in the water, go into the Heat Escape Lessening Position (HELP) straight away.
5. If there are other people around, go into a huddle or group to keep as warm as possible.
Recruit older kids
You’re also likely to find that older children take boating safety even more seriously when they’re charged with looking over someone else. Of course, no matter what, you’re still keeping a watchful eye over the entire brood! Giving older kids the opportunity to help out with the little ones will make your job a lot easier. Yes, it’s important to ensure all children onboard understand safety procedures, but it’s not always practical to expect them to abide by them 24/7.
For regulations relating to children on boats, head to the maritime website relating to your state and click on the link relating to ‘child safety’.
If you’d like more insights into boating safety in Australia, Like our Facebook page, which is dedicated to the Australian boating community. We can also help you secure competitive marine insurance for your vessel. Contact our marine underwriters to find out more.