Kids and Boating
An opportunity to instill Recreational Boating Safety values that will last a lifetime
By Wayne Spivak; National Press Corps United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
It is often said that a young mind is an impressionable one. There is great truth to this saying, as countless academic studies have proven that a young mind is like a sponge; it will just keep soaking up knowledge.
While it’s important for these young minds to soak up knowledge about the 3R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic), for those who enjoy the water, or whose parents enjoy the water, there is no better time than to instill recreational boating safety values into those little adorable sponges.
Some of my earliest memories about boating consist of my father and uncle’s on small rowboats. We’d go out fishing on small lakes throughout upstate New York; a couple of oars, fishing rods, bait, tackle box, but I really don’t remember any life jackets. I do remember mostly having a single worn out cushion. Whether it floated, or was a floatation device, I couldn’t say.
Today, even if there wasn’t a Federal Law in place, we as adults should be inculcating our children on the need to wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s). For those of us who do a lot of boating, think about spending a few extra bucks and getting a PFD which is as comfortable, and bulk less as possible.
Don’t forget snazzy! Children are style conscious. If you ever walk around docks where there are kids, you’re bound to hear complaining about wearing their PFD’s. The old style horseshoe Type II jackets just don’t cut it with today’s aspiring child stars. However, a sporty Type II or Type III jacket with psychedelic colors or hearts on them will get the kids excited!
Here again, is an easy way to increase your child’s educational quotient, while at the same time instilling information that can serve to increase the safety of all, while aboard yours or someone else’s boat. Starboard, Port, forward, aft – these simple terms are extremely important when describing an action in relation to a given boat.
Using proper terminology can be life saving for both the child and adult, because it eliminates confusion.
As a kid, we never had a radio in our boats. They were just too expensive. We also didn’t have Ebay! But today, Ebay aside, VHF radios of all kinds, sizes, and dollar ranges abound.
That being said, ever listen to the marine radio on a fine summer weekend? No, I’m not talking about the rude adults, or those who need some radio manners and education; I’m talking about the unsupervised children who get on the radio, because it’s a cool toy!
Educating our children on the “who, what, where and why’s” of radio procedures can benefit recreational boating safety in several ways. First, it gets the kids off the radio. Second, should your child ever need to really use the radio, they will know how, and both the Coast Guard and others who listen to Channel 16 will hear a difference in tone – and quality of information.
Proper use of nautical terminology helps in this area. Using proper terminology and radio procedure can be crucial in “trusting” the information the child is giving.