Boating Safety Tips: Is it safe to take a baby onboard?
Many families find the idea of taking a newborn baby aboard a boat extremely frightening! While an infant is precious and fragile, having a baby should not prevent you from having fun with your new addition to the family. By following the infant boat safety tips below, you can ensure that boating with a baby is a fun-filled adventure rather than stress.
- Choose a day that is calm with good weather, without choppy waters. This will keep the baby composed and able to enjoy the scenery.
- Before you even consider boating with a baby, ensure that your infant weighs at least 18 pounds and can comfortably wear a personal flotation device (PFD). This weight requirement is a mandatory ruling by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety to safeguard the baby’s health and safety.
- Once your baby hits the U.S Coast Guard weight requirement, you should purchase an infant life jacket that includes a built-in head cushion with a handle and straps that fit between the baby’s legs. These life preservers are manufactured to fit the baby tightly and to keep its head above the water. Your baby should wear the PFD when the boat is in motion and every time you get on and off the boat.
- Getting on and off your boat with your baby is one of the most stressful actions. While some people pass the baby to someone else already on the dock, others just hold onto the baby securely and step onto the dock carefully. To make this process easier, we suggest attaching slip resistant stairs to your boat lift or dock. If you are using a JetDock floating boat lift, you should attach our Quad Step Boarding System. These stairs are easy to install and come with a non-skid surface, handrail, platform and mounting hardware. Whatever stairs you decide to install, they will make getting on and off your boat with your baby easy and stress-free.
- Once your baby is onboard, make sure that he or she sits in a carrier that is secured to the boat. We advise not using a carrier with wheels as it will roll with the motion of the boat.
- The boat should also have proper shading on the deck to protect the infant’s sensitive skin. The FDA advises you to not put sunscreen on a baby under 6 months.
- If you sleep on your boat, make sure that you have a safe and compact baby travel bed so that he or she can sleep safe and sound.
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