Sink Or Swim: Creative Activities To Teach Your Child About Proper Boat Safety

16 December 2014
 Categories: Insurance, Blog

Going on family boating trips is a great way to spend any vacation. What will make it even more relaxing is to ensure you have given your children proper boating instruction on safety. Being on a boat with people who have no experience with being on the water is dangerous. It is important for everyone to not only know proper safety but also boating traffic control signs and emergency signals. Training your children on boating protocol will help save you from a costly disaster and make the vacation even more enjoyable.

PFD Race

A personal floatation device, or PFD for short, is usually the only line of defense your children has should they fall overboard. For this reason alone, you must make sure that all PFDs fit properly. For the PFD to work effectively, it must fit snugly over your chest. If it fits too tightly, then it is too small too meet the safety requirements. It cannot fit too tightly, either.

To demonstrate properly fitting a PFD, place the vest over your torso and fasten. Have a partner tug at the vest's shoulders to show that it is not too tight or too loose. After you show the children how to fit their vests, you can start the game.

Step 1: Line the appropriate amount of vests up in a straight line. You will want to have enough vests for every child plus various others in different sizes.

Step 2: When you give the signal, have your children rush to the vests and put one on.

Step 3: When your children and found their vest and it is secured, have them run to the finish line to see who gets there first.

Step 4: When each child reaches the finish line, inspect their vests and see if it is the appropriate size and that it is secured properly. If it is not, then they must go back and find another vest. The first child to select the correct vest and secure it properly, wins.

Traffic Control, Go!

One of the most important things to teach your child about boat safety is different boating traffic signals. Just like the road, bodies of water also have signals instructing you on where and where not to go. To teach your children about different traffic signals, instruct them on what each sign means. Using construction paper, make each sign.

  • An orange diamond with a cross through it warns boaters to keep out.

  • A circle indicates a speed limit.

  • A diamond warns you of nearing danger.

You will also want to cut out construction paper to make buoys. Use different colors to symbolize the red, purple and green buoys.

Step 1: Hold up a sign or a colored piece of construction paper.

Step 2: Have your children shout out the answer if they know what each picture or color means.

Step 3: Keep score to see which child answers the most questions correctly. The player who has the highest score is the winner.

Captain, May I?

Just as important as the traffic signs, your children must also know the different emergency signals or distress calls. You can teach your child these different signals with a simple game of Captain, May I? This game is much like Mother, May I? So you are going to follow the same general rules, but instead of saying what you want them to do, you are going to whistle is.

Using a whistle, you're going to give instruction on what you want them to do.

  • One short whistle to instruct them to turn right.

  • Two short whistle to tell them to turn left.

  • Three short whistle to tell them to back up.

  • Five or more whistle to tell them to take three steps forward to avoid an accident with another boat.

Be sure to say "Captain says", before you give instruction to see who is really paying attention.

It is always fun to get the entire family out on the water, but it is also important to teach proper safety rules before hand. With the games listed above your children will become familiar with the rules of boating, making your vacation more relaxing and worry free. Talk to places like SkiSafe for more information.