Boating for kids

Crazy Boaters

Justin's question is "Why do people act crazy in boats while they are in them?"

We have wondered the same thing, Justin! We have seen some crazy behavior on the water - often from people who are very careful drivers on the road. Perhaps it is because we think of boating as fun and forget that there are rules and safety procedures. Sometimes just the idea of "relaxing" makes people (usually adults) act like nuts.

But like any sport, boating is more fun (and a lot safer) when you know the rules. That's why we recommend taking a boating safety course. You might be surprised by all you don't know. And some of those things you don't know CAN hurt you.

Often, alcohol plays a part in crazy boating behavior. The effects of alcohol are intensified by the weather and the motion of the boat, which can cause an unanticipated diminishing of mental and physical capabilities. Even with a designated skipper, alcohol and boating do not mix well. In fact, the majority of alcohol-related boating accidents involve drunk passengers falling overboard or just plain falling down and hurting themselves and others.

Also, many skippers are not aware that they are responsible for any damage the boat, or its wake, may do. In many states, boating accidents have the same criminal penalties as auto accidents.

As a kid, what can you do? Protect yourself! Avoid confrontations with other boaters who are not acting responsibly. Always wear your life jacket and carry safety equipment onboard in case you can't avoid crazy boaters. Keep a lookout and be prepared!

All of us who share the waterways need to understand our obligations as well as our rights. Congratulations for using your common sense, Justin! We'll be glad to see you on the water and hope you'll be wearing the BoatSafe Kids T-shirt we are sending you for your thoughtful question!

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