Everyone loves spending time out on the boat during the summer, whether it’s on a small private lake, Lake Michigan, or the Grand River, and that includes young children. As a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend of people with children, it’s important to you that any kids you take out on the boat will be safe and have a good time. Here are a few things you can do to keep kids safe on your boat:
Make sure they wear life jackets
Per Michigan law (see DNR life jacket rules), you’re required to have at least one life jacket per person aboard your boat, and children under six years old must wear a life jacket (type I or II) when on the open deck area of a boat. You might get some resistance – after all, life jackets aren’t exactly fun to wear – but the safest thing to do is require all children on your boat to wear a life jacket.
Teach them water safety
If your kids are going to be out on the boat and playing in the water this summer, you should teach them some basic water safety. Explain how to use life jackets and other flotation devices and teach them how to swim. If you’re not confident in your ability to teach water safety and swimming to your kids, classes are available for all age groups at local pools.
Supervise them constantly
Just as kids need diligent and constant supervision when swimming, they need to be watched when on a boat. An unwatched child could easily fall or jump overboard into deep waters.
Do not allow children to play on the boat while it is docked without supervision, either. A child could easily fall between the boat and dock, potentially becoming trapped between the two or underneath the boat.
Keep up on necessary boat maintenance
This one is for keeping everyone safe. Ensure that your boat is properly maintained and free of mechanical issues or safety hazards. It’s a good idea to check your safety equipment, like life preservers or fire extinguishers, on a regular basis to ensure that they are still functional. Replace any life jackets with rips, broken clips, or missing belts.
Make sure your boat is covered
Should anything happen to your boat or any of the people on it, having the right insurance coverage is a necessity. Without it, you could be liable for incidents and the resulting damages and costs.
Boating should be fun for the whole family, so when out on the boat this summer, be sure to follow the safety tips above to keep kids, adults, and those in between safe out on the water.
Is your boat covered? Make sure you’re all set before you take it out this summer. Call Doyle & Ogden to review your current policy.