This past weekend marked the first boat ride for all of us. Our boys LOVE to ride with their cousin (and our dog) around the lake and even up the river. They have come to appreciate that while going for a boat ride is tons of fun, they also have to be VERY safe.
Here are the rules for our family;
1. Life jackets are NOT an option: Kids must wear a life jacket at all times, when in a boat. Sure, they may give you a hard time about it being uncomfortable, but its not an option! Safety always comes first when taking a fun ride in a boat! Adults need to have a life jacket on board, but may choose to wear it to "lead by example".
2. Pre-launch review: Before going boating, make sure all passengers are familiarized with the safety equipment on board. There are even cool apps to help you, from BoatSmart.
3. Have an adventure: Whether it's scouting out the bird's nests, searching for the closest place for ice cream or playing "on the lake" I Spy, you can take your adventures on the water! Bring binoculars or cameras to capture all the cool things you can see from the lake.
4. Shoes: We have a rule that you are only allowed to wear Crocs, flip flops or water shoes near the dock or in the boat. Consider your child does go in the water in an emergency; the weight of shoes will pull them down.
5. Swimming off the boat: The kids LOVE to jump off the back of the boat to have a mid-lake swim. An adult MUST be in the water before the kids jump and the adult needs to stay in the water until the last child is back in the boat.
6. Tubing/Waterskiing: We also love to go tubing (waterskiing when they get a bit older!). The boys have learned the signals to tell Poppa to speed up (thumbs up) or slow down (thumbs down) and they also know to tell him when they want to stop (hand cuts across their throat to "cut" the motor). Come up with your own simple signs so that kids can communicate when they are having fun being towed.
5. Get certified: It's easy to take the boating test online for under $50 . Be sure that you have more than one driver with a license, incase of emergency.
Happy and Safe Boating this summer!