Boating with children

Many children love boating and other water activities. You can improve their confidence - and your peace of mind - by investing some time in training and education before you hit the water.

  • Show children around the vessel - especially where lifejackets, first aid kit and other equipment are kept.
  • Teach them emergency procedures, particularly that if the boat capsizes everyone should stay with it or an easily seen floating object.
  • Teach them about stability, getting on and off the boat, and distributing the load evenly.
  • If they are old enough, show children how to use safety equipment such as the radio, EPIRB and flares.
  • Before you take them boating, encourage children to learn to swim, and practise emergency positions in the water, such as treading water, HELP (heat escape lessening posture) and Huddle. These positions are explained within our information on cold water immersion.

Lifejackets on babies and toddlers

Maritime Safety Victoria does not recommend taking infants on board a recreational boat.

Because of the varying weight distribution of babies, it is difficult to design lifejackets which have flotation in the right places to keep babies afloat. The lifejackets currently available for newborns up to 10 kg may not provide a proper fit or perform as expected.

You must be sure you know the lifejacket you have works for your infant. Children should not be exposed to any risk on a boat on the water.

A young girl wearing a lifejacket on a boat