Whether you’re a first-time voter or a veteran of coastal and inland waters, you should be passionate about the safety of your passengers, especially when some of them are children and teenagers.  Statistics show that preparedness and safety are priority issues and that training in those areas can significantly reduce the number of boating accidents that occur on an annual basis.  The following is a list of suggestions for encouraging children and teenagers educated about boating safety.

Ensure that younger family members understand boating safety rules – rules for boating safety must be explained so children of all ages understand what you’re trying to teach them.  For example, teach them about the hazards of swimming too close to the propellers on your boat.  When you see other boaters behaving in unsafely, make an example out of them to your children.  You should also enforce a zero tolerance rule for anyone who comes on board.

Make using safety gear a fun experience – children’s life jackets are no longer boring items to wear.  Many are now manufactured using bright colors and designs that young children and teenagers enjoy.  Letting them learn how to buckle up teaches them how do things without your help.  Hand clapping and praising the child for getting buckled up goes a long way to making safety an enjoyable and fun experience.  Be sure that you involve your teen as well as the little ones.  You can encourage your teens to play a role in teaching their younger brothers or sisters.

Practice really does make perfect – especially where the issues of boating safety and preparedness are concerned.  You can test your children’s understanding of certain safety issues such as an emergency plan to rescue someone that has fallen overboard.  Younger children would enjoy coloring the pages in a boating safety coloring book.  You also need to remember that smaller children a certain amount of rest.  The last thing you want on board is a cranky, unreasonable tot.  Either create an area where they can rest safely and securely or let them nap in the cabin if your boat has one.

Set good examples as parents – educating your kids about safety should be a priority from the very beginning and is all about setting a good example as a parent.  In other words, if you and other adults do not wear life jackets, you could have a difficult time convincing your kids to do the same.  The reality is that you have to make safety an enjoyable experience and a strict rule that applies to all family members. And after all, your life is at stake so take care of all safety measures.

For more information regarding boating safety in the state of Florida, visit the Boat US Foundation website or talk to your local boat insurance representative. They would be glad to help you.