Coast Guard urges safe boating with children

Chief Warrant Officer Jeff Parker fits a child with a free lifejacket at the Evergreen Sportsman Show in Monroe, Wash. USCG photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mike Zolzer.

Chief Warrant Officer Jeff Parker fits a child with a free lifejacket at the Evergreen Sportsman Show in Monroe, Wash. USCG photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mike Zolzer.

MIAMI­­­­­­­­­­ – In the United States, drowning is the most common cause of death in children ages 1 to 4. Throughout December, Coast Guard Seventh District crews are highlighting the importance of child safety and the precautions mariners must take when boating with minors.

Boating with young children presents challenges that require mariners to approach a day out on the water with the proper safety plans in place to prevent loss of life, personal injury and property damage.

The Coast Guard is advising the public of these safety tips when boating with children:

  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket when boating. All mariners should follow state laws when it comes to wearing life jackets. When boating with children make sure to choose a life jacket that is appropriate for your child’s weight and water activity.
  • Enroll children into swimming lessons as soon as possible. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children of all ages according to Coast Guard 2019 Statistics. Having the ability to swim serves as a critical line of defense against drowning accidents.
  • Pack all safety equipment prior to getting underway. Ensure that all emergency gear is up to date and stowed in a position that is easily accessible if needed. Equipment such as first aid kits, flares, blankets, radios, and a portable fire extinguisher all play pivotal roles in a scenario that requires quick response to an emergency.
  • Educating children on propeller safety and staying clear of the “props”. Operating below the water line, the propeller is not readily visible to the operator, passengers, and swimmers. It is important to teach children not to fear the propeller, but the important safety rules that pertain to it.
  • Be a good role model. Set a good example and show children that safety is important. Establish basic safety rules so children have instruction on how to act in accordance with safety guidelines.

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