How to kid-proof your boat

Plenty of sailors love to have their kids or grandkids onboard when enjoying time on the water. It’s a wonderful way for little ones to connect with nature, get to know the basics of boating and cast a line, if conditions are right.

Of course, when it comes to kids on boats, safety is a big concern. A while ago, we listed 5 Tips for keeping kids safe on a boat. Today, we’re exploring how you can kid-proof your boat, so it’s safe and ready for junior sailors.

Here are our top tips!

  1. Cover electrical outlets

Okay, we’re going to start with the easy stuff first. Just like at home, electrical outlets should be covered so children can’t poke objects into them and endanger themselves. Cover all outlets that could be reached by kids onboard, even ones located above floor level, as kids do have a penchant for climbing.

  1. Contain the little ones

If kids are a part of your boating life, it pays to choose a boat that accommodates this. For example, a boat with an open cockpit and minimal stairs is ideal, as kids can play in the open cockpit. You may also like to use camper canvas or netting to enclose the boat’s sides. That way, if the kids do climb on the seats, they will be extra safe.

  1. Cordon off stairs

If your boat does have stairs, put netting at the bottom, so they can’t run up or down. This is another way to ensure the kids are contained and will alleviate concerns around where they can or can’t go. As you already know, kids move fast, and anything that can stop them from going into unsafe areas is worth investing in.

  1. Have a designated kid-handler

There may be a number of you onboard taking on different tasks. When kids are onboard too, there needs to be at least one adult who has the sole job of keeping watch over them. When a bunch of adults are in any environment, it’s sometimes the case that everyone thinks someone else is watching the little ones. So, give one person the responsibility to avoid confusion.

  1. Secure doors

Make sure that the lock on your cockpit door is secure so kids can’t escape onto the swim platform. You may like to place a strap over the lock to keep it fastened or adopt any kind of adjustment that makes it difficult to open. The same goes for cupboards. If your child is younger, make sure they are locked, especially if there are cleaners or toxic substances inside.

  1. Clear the cockpit and cover the helm

If kids are in the cockpit, it’s important to enclose controls with some kind of cover. That way they won’t be tempted to play with them. Be sure to clear the cockpit of anything that may harm a child, for example fish hooks, air horns, boat lines or cleaners. While you’re at it, do a sweep of the whole boat to ensure nothing dangerous is laying around or within reach.

Is your boat covered?

As well as blogging about boat safety, we provide comprehensive marine insurance to recreational boaters and businesses all over Australia (and worldwide too!). We take pride in making sure your cover protects you for the stuff that really matters, without breaking your budget – so you have peace of mind on the water.

Contact us for a free quote here and stay safe out there!


Disclaimer: When preparing your boat for kids, always take time to do your own research, which should include consulting industry experts and resources. While we have taken care to research this article, it should not be relied upon solely. Thank you and take care.