Boating for kids

Lauren Asks: How do you save someone who falls overboard in a boat that is moving quite fast?  If you don't know how drive. 

Lauren, you have posed a very important question. I only hope that you are asking as a preventative measure and that you were not presented with this problem.

First, let me emphasize some things to remember.

  1. If a boat in which you are riding is going fast enough that a person could potentially be tossed overboard, it is going way too fast.
  2. If you are being bounced out of your seat, then the boat is going too fast.
  3. If you are getting uncomfortable, then the boat is going too fast. You should politely ask the operator to slow down.
  4. You should wear a life jacket and try to get others boating with you to always wear their life jackets.
  5. Never stand up in the boat when underway, you need to keep a low center of gravity to keep from falling.
  6. Always slow down if you are approaching a big wake created by other boats.
  7. Be sure to keep one hand for yourself and one for the boat. This means don't try to hold too many things in your hands that would prevent you from holding onto the boat.

Following some simple steps should help you in your assessment of how to react if a non-preventable emergency should arise.

Ask the adult or adults who operate the boat in which you are riding to teach you the following basics:

  1. How to pull back on the throttle so the boat slows down, and how to take it out of gear so it stops.
  2. How to find the required floatable cushion, that should be readily accessible, and throw it to someone in the water .
  3. How to find the required sound signaling device and how to use it to signal for help.
  4. How to use the VHF radio to summon help in case of an emergency.

I hope that this helps. And please make sure when you go boating that you are riding with a responsible adult who has completed a safe boating course.

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