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Boat Safety for Families

Nothing is more nostalgic for summer memories than spending the day on the lake. We want to keep your family safe this summer so here are some tips to keep in mind.

Selecting a Boat

If you’re new to boating, you might be surprised with the many styles available. Pick one with ample shade coverage, seats for the kids, and something you feel comfortable maneuvering. If you’re not quite ready to buy a boat you can also rent one for your trip. Don’t forget to purchase your boating license!

Consider a Boating Class

New to boat ownership? Consider taking a course through the Arizona Game and Fish Department which offers Boating Safety Education courses including instruction on the basic skills required to safely operate a boat or personal watercraft, trailering your vessel, navigational rules, buoys, anchoring, legal requirements, boating emergencies, and water sports and paddling. Courses are offered in three formats: classroom courses, home study courses and online courses. azgfd.com

Personal Flotation Devices (Life Jackets)

In Arizona, for children under 12, wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) also known as life jackets, is a law. A life jacket is the closest thing to a seat belt you have when boating and life jackets are proven to save lives. Here are some safety tips from the Arizona State Parks and Trails to keep in mind when it comes to PFDs:

  • Use the right size PFD. We’re all built differently, so try on and purchase the most comfortable option.
  • Use bright colored PFDs to help others see you in the water.
  • Check PFD frequently for leaks and hardware issues.
  • Dry your PFD before storage in a well-ventilated area out of the sun – we all know how damaging the Arizona sun can be!

Be Prepared and Use Good Judgment

Are you prepared for an emergency on the lake? Check out this safety equipment list of items that should be on your boat, and remember, it is your responsibility to stay sober while operating a watercraft.

  • First-aid kit
  • Emergency bailing device (bucket)
  • Knife
  • Flashlight
  • Oars/paddles in case of engine failure
  • Functional running lights (it’s the law)
  • Anchor to hold your boat until help arrives
  • Plenty of drinking water
  • Extra clothes
  • Signaling flags or flares
  • Sunscreen

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Natural bodies of water are different from pools. Make sure to keep an eye on the weather, currents, undertows, rocky dangers, and stay clear of other boaters.

Set Family Rules

Talk to your kids ahead of time about the important boat safety rules. Make sure the kids know there is no going in the water without adult supervision, life jackets must remain on at all times, and that there will be no running on the boat.

Know How to Reach Emergency Services

You might find you have little to no service on the water. Know how to radio for help and how to identify your location.

Docking the Boat.

If you’re new to boating, docking can be nerve-racking when you have little ones. It’s often easier to have two people docking the boat so you need to make sure the kids are safe on the boat when the adults are occupied.

By paying attention to detail and being prepared, you will ensure that you and your family will have a safe and memorable trip to the lake this summer!

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