Boating and Water Safety

Did You Know?

  • Swimming pools are the most common site for a drowning to occur for children ages 1 to 4.
  • Eighty-nine percent of boating deaths of all ages occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instructions.
  • The majority of infant drowning deaths happen in bathtubs or large buckets.
  • African-American kids ages 5 to 14 are almost three times more likely to drown than white children.
  • The use of specially made drain covers, safety vacuum-release systems, multiple filter pumps and other pressure-venting pool filter mechanisms can reduce the risk of entrapment in pools.

Boating Safety
  • 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 kids make a "touchdown" signal by raising both arms straight up; if the life jacket hits a child's chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.
  • According to the U.S. Coast Guard's Office of Boating Safety, babies should not travel on a boat — including rowboats, kayaks, motorboats, and sailboats — until they are at the appropriate weight to wear an approved personal flotation device (PFD).
  • Infants and young kids are at a higher risk for hypothermia.  If your children seem cold or are shivering, wrap them tightly in a dry blanket or towel.
  • Remember that swimming aids such as water wings or noodles are fun toys for kids, but they should never be used in place of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD).
  • Explain the basic boat rules and have everyone follow them.
  • Children need to keep their hands and feet inside the boat at all times and not running on a boat.
  • Enroll older kids in a boating safety course. Better yet, enroll with them.
  • It is strongly recommended not to drink alcoholic beverages while boating.
  • 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.
  • Teach children not to dive into oceans, lakes or rivers, because you never know how deep the water is or what might be hidden under the surface.

Water Safety Tips
  • Put the cell phone away, and forget about all the other things you have to do . Give young children 100 percent of your attention when they are near or around water.
  • When using inflatable or portable pools, remember to empty them immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children’s reach.
  • Once bath time is over, immediately drain the tub.
  • Empty all tubs, buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children’s reach.
  • Keep toilet lids closed and use toilet seat locks to prevent drowning.
  • Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.
  • Learn CPR.  It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. 

Additional Resources

Boating Safety Tip sheet

Water Safety Tip Sheet

CPSC - Swimming Pool Safety Videos

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