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Is it Safe to Take Infants on Boats?
Many families find the idea of taking infants on boats extremely frightening. Although a baby is precious and fragile, having a little one should not prevent you from having fun on the water with the whole family. Follow the infant boating safety tips below to ensure that boating with a baby is a fun-filled adventure rather than a stressful outing.
- Choose a calm day with good weather and smooth water. This will help the baby stay composed and able to enjoy the scenery.
- Before you even consider boating with an infant, ensure that your child 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 reaches the U.S. Coast Guard weight requirement, fit him or her with 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 his or her 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 the dock is a stressful aspect of taking babies on boats. Although some people pass the baby to someone else already on the dock, others just hold them 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 Jet Dock floating boat lift, you should attach our floating dock walkway. It's easy to install and comes with a non-skid surface, platform and mounting hardware. Whatever stairs or walkway you decide to install, it will make getting on and off your boat with your baby easy and stress-free.
- When you are boating with a baby, 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 old.
- If you sleep on your boat, make sure that you have a safe and compact baby travel bed to make boating with an infant as comfortable and peaceful as possible.
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