Always have children wear...
With almost 100 different kinds of boats – from kayaks to canoes to motorboats – there’s a good chance most of us will be having a great time on the water at some point. So when you do, please remember a few simple safety tips for the entire family.

Life jackets are the key to preventing drowning. In 2011 70 percent of all fatal boating accident victims  drowned, and of those who drowned, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket

Safety Tips

  • Always have your children wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while on boats, around open bodies of water or when participating in water sports. Make sure the life jacket fits snugly. Have the child make a “touchdown” signal by raising both arms straight up; if the life jacket hits the child’s chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.
  • A large portion of boating accidents each year involve alcohol consumption by both boat operators and passengers. To keep you and your loved ones safe, it is strongly recommended not to drink alcoholic beverages while boating.
  • Infants and young kids are at a higher risk for hypothermia, so if you are taking a baby on a boat, just take a few extra precautions to keep your baby warm. If your children seem cold or are shivering, wrap them tightly in a dry blanket or towel.
  • We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.
  • Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool: They need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.

Learn More

  • Boating Safety Sidekicks
    Activities and information produced by the National Safe Boating Council to entertain and educate children on boat safety importance and ways to boat safely.
  • CDC BAM! H2O Smarts
    Water safety tips and information on boating, surfing, fishing, water skiing, swimming from the Centers for Disease Control’s Body And Mind Healthy Youth Site.
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission
    Protects the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction
  • Healthy Swimming and Recreational Water
    Information on safety in and around the water, on the water, preventing sunburn, skin cancer and heat-related illness.
  • National Drowning Prevention Alliance
    Mission is to prevent drowning and aquatic injuries, by educating, leading, engaging, and supporting the public, and the group’s members, chapters, and partners.
  • Pool Safely Campaign
    Pool Safely: Simple Steps to Save Lives, is the CPSC’s national public education campaign to reduce childhood drownings, submersion injuries and entrapments.
  • Protect the Ones You Love from Drowning (Podcast)
    This podcast, developed as part of the Protect the Ones You Love initiative, discusses steps parents can take to help protect their children from drowning.
  • Rip Current Safety
    Learn about staying safe while swimming at a beach and how to recognize and avoid possible rip currents.
  • Swim Safely: Quick Tips
    Provides tips to stay safe in and near the water, including safe swimming, effective child supervision, evaluating water and weather conditions, protecting skin from the sun.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety
    Information from the U.S. Coast Guard on boating safety, including fact sheets.