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How to Teach Boating Safety Tips for Kids

boating safety tips for kids featured image - mom and dad on a boat with their daughter and sun

It’s never too early to start teaching your little ones boating safety tips for kids. If they’re planning to be anywhere near the water, then it’s crucial they’re well-prepared and knowledgeable about what could happen. In addition to teaching them about safety, these tips can also make them more confident out on the water. Having that peace of mind will allow them to enjoy their outing and boating experience to the fullest.

But what are the different topics to cover when teaching kids about boat safety? This guide will walk you through the most important boating safety tips for kids.

The Top 8 Boating Safety Tips for Kids

Go Over the Necessary Equipment

Johnson & Johnson First Aid To Go! Portable Mini Travel Kit - 12pc, 1 of 9 - boating safety tips for kids

A good first step is to get your child familiar with the boat itself. They should know where safety equipment is stored (ropes, first aid kits, fire extinguishers) and how to board and disembark.

boating safety tips for kids - life jacket
Dick’s Sporting Goods


And don’t forget about life jackets. Make sure they understand that wearing one is non-negotiable anytime they are on the boat or in the water. Teach them how to properly put one on or take off so they are able to do it themselves if needed. As a parent, you should also lead by example by wearing one while you are with them on the boat as well.

Discuss Potential Hazards and Dangers

The point of discussing the dangers of boating isn’t to scare your child. Instead, they are important so kids know that safety on the boat should be taken seriously. This means going over the dangers of swimming, strong currents, weather changes, and even wildlife.

If your child is little, simple language with real-life examples can help drive the point home. Pictures, videos, or other visuals can also be effective.

Practice Swimming

Swimming is an invaluable skill that all children should learn if they’re going to be out on a boat. Not only will this help them feel more comfortable on the water, but it could also save their life. And the better they are at swimming, the more confident they’ll feel when they’re on the boat.

At the very least, kids should know how to enter/exit the water and what to avoid on the boat itself. If they are old enough, you might consider enrolling them in lessons or classes to further develop their skills.

Promote Good On-Boat Behavior

Being on a boat can be a very exciting time for young kids. But it’s vital to teach your little ones how to behave appropriately while the boat is moving. This means no standing up, leaning over the side, or making any loud movements or sounds that could be distracting to the driver.

Kids should also know the importance of listening to instructions. Whatever the captain (or any adult on board) says, goes!

Go Over Emergency Procedures

Taylor Made 24" Life Ring image number 1 - boating safety tips for kids

If anything were to go awry on your trip, your kids should be prepared for what to do. This means going over the emergency procedures for different scenarios.

For example, if someone falls overboard, they should yell for help and find the on-board floatation device. Or if they need to contact emergency services, show them where the phone or radio is stored. And make sure they know who to call. This could be 911 and/or another emergency contact of a friend or family member.

It can also be helpful for young kids to practice role-playing these scenarios. After teaching them the basics, come up with various situations so they can practice how to act.

Give Them Responsibilities

Kids can learn a lot by actively helping out on the boat. Give them age-appropriate responsibilities to teach them valuable skills and how to behave while out on the water.

Young kids (between the ages of 3 to 7) can help with simple tasks like fetching ropes and life jackets. Older children (between the ages of 8 to 11) can assist with navigation or tying knots. And tweens and teens can help with maintenance, cleaning, or even safety inspections.

As always, it’s important to make sure kids are supervised while they do these tasks, especially while they’re learning. It’s also a good idea to ask them questions or test them with new information to reinforce what they have learned.

Consider Extra Courses or Instructions

For more in-depth training, consider enrolling them in courses. Professional instructors and boaters can provide useful information on all aspects of boating. Classes can also teach advanced boating skills like knot tying, nautical navigation, or even operation.

Or you can use books, videos, or instructional apps to help teach them important safety features. There are some that are specifically developed for kids using colorful images and simple language to help them easily understand. 

Discuss Basic Outdoor Safety

Whether they’re traveling, camping, or boating, kids should know about some basic safety tips for being outdoors. For example, make sure they have adequate sun protection for being outside. That includes sunglasses, a hat, and most importantly, sunscreen! They’re just a few must-have essentials for outfitting your little ones this summer!

It’s also important to remind them about the importance of good food and hydration. Being out in the sun and actively helping out on the boat takes a lot of work. Therefore, drinking lots of water and eating a healthy meal beforehand can help them stay energized throughout the day.

Teaching your little ones about important boating safety tips for kids is an essential part of the boating experience. It takes the pressure off both of you and makes being out on the water more enjoyable! Plus, it’s a great thing to do with your kid before they are all grown up. And while safety is a priority, don’t forget to have fun. Going boating with your little one is guaranteed to be a memory you won’t soon forget.

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