Episodes - Lessons
Family Boating Safety - Classroom Video
Family Boating Safety - Classroom Video

For instance, how many parents put on their life jackets even before stepping on the dock or getting in a boat? Not enough. Why? Because they think they know better, or boast that they’re better swimmers than most. So what’s a kid to do? Follow some of these ideas on how to recruit parents into becoming safety-savvy boaters.

Give them a quiz – Parents like to show how much they know. It’s part of being a parent. So use simple quizzes to test their knowledge while also making them aware of key boating safety points… such as:

  • What are 3 smart reasons for putting on your PFD before getting on the dock or your boat?
  • What are 3 important things to have on board before leaving the dock? And ask them “why” certain safety gear is important.
  • What is an “engine cut-off switch? And how and why is it used?

Help them build on their knowledge – Parents have life experience. So ask them to use that experience to create a Family Float Plan… even if they don’t know what a float plan is. Simply ask them to imagine what could go wrong on a boating adventure, then how to minimize those risks with a float plan.

Blend boating “fun” with boating “safety” – Once you’re out on the water having fun, boating, fishing or whatever, present a few more quiz competitions (maybe the loser buys ice cream at the end of the day) Consider some of these critical quiz questions:

  • If 79% of fatal boating accident victims drowned … what percent were not wearing a PFD? (answer? 86% were not wearing a life jacket)
  • What’s the number one way for Prevention From Drowning? (answer- always wearing your PFD.)
  • What types of vessels recorded the highest percentage of deaths? (answer - Open motorboats, less than 21 feet)
  • What’s the leading cause of drowning? (answer - falling overboard)
  • If 70% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator didn’t get boating safety instruction… what’s the smartest thing a parent can do? (answer – do what it takes to get a nationally-approved boating safety education certificate)

Dangerous “Adult” Behaviors – Parents should know better than to engage in high-risk behaviors, right? But not all adults realize those risks. So ask your parents, “What’s the number one contributing factor to fatal boating accidents?” Answer = Alcohol use while boating. Then ask them what’s the most responsible way to prevent that if someone really loves their family? There’s only one right answer to that question.

Physics Lesson – To really ratchet up the brains of your parents, give them the ultimate “physics quiz”. First, tell them that “collisions” are one of the leading causes of serious boating accidents. Then ask them to research and answer:

  • What is the kinetic energy of an average 16-foot boat traveling at 25 miles per hour?
  • What happens to all that kinetic energy when a boat collides with a fixed solid object like dock or pier?
  • What happens to the human body (made mostly of soft tissue – including that brain someone was supposed to be using) when it’s in a boat and part of the abrupt conversion of kinetic energy? Yucky stuff for sure.

The top 3 contributing factors to all those avoidable boating collisions each year are;

  1. Operator inattention
  2. Improper lookout
  3. Operator inexperience.

That’s a lot of operator error. Those contributing factors are followed by operator excesses… excessive speed and excessive alcohol.

For more family boating safety savvy, click on the LEARN MORE section. To share in that learning at home or in your classroom, download and have a blast by participating in the FREE lesson activity below... where kids take the lead in educating parents about boating safety!


The information in our video and on this page was made possible by our educational partners. To learn more about Getting Families Fishing and boating safely, click on their logos below to explore their websites.