Keeping Kids Safe on Personal Watercraft
As soon as the mercury rises, kids and water go hand-in-hand. Add personal watercraft (PWC) such as Jet Skis and wave runners to your kids’ water sport options and you could very well create the perfect summer—as long as you learn how to keep your kids safe while they enjoy their time by the ocean, lake or pond.
Step 1: Invest in the right personal floatation device
- Buy a floatation device that fits your child now—even if that means you will have to replace it soon when he outgrows it.
- Use your child’s weight to choose the right size floatation device.
- Choose a floatation device with a grab handle so you can pull her out of the water if necessary, head support that works to maintain her head above the water and a crotch strap that allows the device to stay in place offering maximum protection.
- Make sure the device has a snug fit and is the right type for the kind of activities you plan to indulge in with your children. Type III should be used for sports and type II for calmer waters closer to inland.
- Never allow your child near the water or on PWC without a properly secured floatation device.
Step 2: Supervise, Supervise, Supervise
- Children should never be left alone in the water, even if they’ve had swimming lessons and have their floatation device on. An adult should always be present, preferably one who has had CPR training, can swim and has not had any alcohol.
- Make sure to childproof any boats that young children will be riding.
- Consider leaving very young children off any personal watercraft. Once they are old enough to ride with an adult, position them between two adults rather than in the front or back of the craft.
Step 3: Educate and Prepare
- Take the time to teach your children proper behavior and handling techniques for all the watercraft they can operate. Make sure that you teach them on days that you don’t plan to use the vehicle as well as days you do to ensure they have a strong understanding and are, in fact, paying attention.
- Check laws in your state to find the appropriate age for your children to legally operate personal watercraft and to find out if a license is required.
- Have PWC insurance to pay for liabilities and medical payments. If your child should be injured in an accident involving personal watercraft, the right insurance policy can pay those damages. And if your child damages someone else’s property, liability insurance can cover those expenses.
For more information about Louisiana boat insurance or to get a free quote, call Bourg Insurance Agency at 225-490-5678.