Kids in Boats

Children and boats are a great combination, out in the fresh air, learning about the world around them and having fun.

As the Skipper, you are responsible for all those on your boat, but children need extra care aboard the boat and around water.

Here are some important points to consider, before you cast off:

  • children and non-swimmers should wear life jackets at all times;
  • a life jacket must fit properly; a child will slip out of an adult’s size life jacket in the water. Life jackets fitted with crotch straps are essential for children;
  • use a child safety harness for young children when appropriate;
  • teach children about the dangers and risks when boating;
  • work through an emergency plan for all those on board, thinking about situations like person overboard, capsize, running aground, fire and collision;
  • don’t go out alone with young children. You need to have another adult aboard who can cope if something happens to you;
  • make sure everyone is sitting safely and holding on when travelling;
  • alcohol affects judgement, balance and survival time in the water. With children 
on your boat, your alcohol consumption 
will effect their survival chances as well as your own;
  • anyone supervising young children on the water must know how to swim and be familiar with survival techniques;
  • the minimum age for being in charge of a power boat capable of 10 knots or more is 15 years old; this includes PWCs and dinghies. If an adult remains within reach of controls those under 15 are allowed to operate the boat.

Remember that children look to adults for examples of appropriate behaviour. Wear your life jacket and they will wear theirs.

Teach children the pleasures and the risks of boating and they will have taken the first step on the way to becoming Responsible Skippers themselves.

If you plan to take children boating, it is your responsibility to ensure that they have the appropriate survival skills. Make sure they learn to swim and teach them boating skills and survival techniques in the water.