Paddling With Kids - Safety First
Here's a simple list of things to help keep your kids safe on the water:
#1 - THE GOLDEN RULE - wear your coast guard approved life jacket pfd & paddle board leash
Wear your life jacket and wear a leash at ALL TIMES. This is the most important rule.
No matter how nice of a day it is or how much fun you are having, ALWAYS wear a pfd personal flotation device life jacket and leash. The life jacket will make sure you stay afloat no matter what and the leash will make sure you stay attached to your board if/when you fall off. It is also best if everyone is a strong swimmer.
Your life jacket is your most important piece of equipment because It will keep you afloat in the water, even if you get tired or knocked unconscious. It is also helpful in preventing hypothermia if you go for a swim and don't have time to get back to shore.
Wearing a leash is important because when you fall off your board, it will keep you connected to it so that you can be easily retrieved. Not only is it dangerous to be in the water without a life jacket, but it is also illegal in many places. So, make sure you always wear your life jacket and leash and stay safe while out on the water!
#2 - The Buddy System - parents always paddle with your kids, children must be adult supervised
Never paddle alone and especially NEVER EVER EVER let your kids paddle alone...it's more fun paddling together anyway. Know your skill level and the skill level of everyone you are paddling with.
If there are beginners in the group then stay conservative with how far you paddle. If you are the most experienced person in the group it is up to you to decided when and where to go and to look after the less experienced paddlers. Always paddle with a buddy and start in shallow water.
It is more fun to paddleboard with friends because you can share the experience and help each other out. If you are paddling alone, make sure to let someone know where you are going and when you plan on being back. Bring a whistle and a life jacket, and follow all safety regulations.
Paddling with a buddy is not only safer, but it can also help you learn more, have more fun and make the experience more enjoyable.
Paddling with your kids is a great experience for them because it gives them the chance to learn a new skill and also to bond with you. Make sure to always stay close to them and to keep an eye on them at all times. Have a plan for any potential emergencies, such as what to do if someone falls off the board and how to call for help if needed.
Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to keep everyone hydrated and energized. Always take breaks if needed and enjoy the ride.
#3 - Weather Forecast - know what type of weather conditions you will have on the water
"Know before you go" is something you should always say to yourself before you go for a paddle. Always check the weather first and never go if there is any chance of bad weather especially wind or lightning.
Bring a first-aid kit and life vests for everyone in the group. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the area you are paddling in, the tides, and the flow of the water. Always be aware of any other boats and obstacles in the water.
Respect the marine life and stay away from any areas that are off-limits. Make sure to bring a whistle or other means of communication in case of emergencies. And most importantly, always have fun and enjoy the journey!
Never paddle with kids in windy or choppy conditions, it is always best for kids to go out in calm flat water conditions in order for them to come away with a positive experience. Know before you go.
Be mindful of the weather and check the conditions before going out. Have a plan for the day and let someone know where you are going, and when you will be back.
Bring all the necessary safety equipment and make sure you have the appropriate clothing for the weather. Bring plenty of water, food, and snacks for energy.
Make sure to keep all your electronics and gear in a waterproof bag. Having a first aid kit is also a must. Lastly, always wear a life jacket when paddling!
Always go in calm water conditions and never go in rough water.
It is a good idea to have sun protection and extra drinking water.
#4 - CLOTHING - have a dry towel and rash guard or wetsuit available for kids to wear
Be sure to wear the appropriate water sports clothing for the situation when paddle boarding with children.
For instance, here in Lake Tahoe even on a 90 degree day the water is still quite cold and some kids prefer to wear a wetsuit or water shoes to stay warm.
Like wise, in warm water climates you may need to wear less clothing in order to stay cool and not overheat when stand up paddle boarding.
Also, be sure to bring along sunscreen and water to stay hydrated.
In addition, the right clothing can help protect kids from the sun, wind and other elements. Sunglasses, hats and rash guards are all good items to have on hand when paddle boarding with kids.
For added protection, consider bringing a dry bag to store snacks, drinks, or other items you may need during your paddle boarding session. Finally, pick clothing that is lightweight and comfortable so that your kids can move freely and stay safe while enjoying their time on the water.
It is also a good idea to wear shoes that are designed for water activities. Shoes that are made of neoprene or other water-resistant material are great for protecting your feet from sharp objects in the water. If you plan to be out on the water for a long time, you may want to invest in a pair of paddle boarding shoes with good traction and arch support. This will help keep your feet comfortable and protected, even after long periods of time standing up on the board.
#5 - PHONE - take a phone for pictures and just in case of an emergency
Always bring along a phone in a dry bag and make sure to let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. Having a phone can be very helpful for a lot of situations...just don't check your email on it! They are great for any type of emergency and they are also good for taking pictures and videos to remember the fun...and of course the kid favorite, ordering pizza from the water.
Be sure to bring a dry bag for your phone, and make sure the battery is charged before you leave. If you are going on a longer trip, it may be a good idea to bring a portable charger just in case. When using your phone on the water, remember to be responsible and don't use it for anything that could be distracting or dangerous. Have fun taking pictures and videos and don't forget to order that pizza!
Now that you have all the safety boxes checked just relax and have a great time with the ones you love. Make sure you allow yourself to let go from the 'real' world for a little while and just be in the moment with the people around you...your kids will appreciate it!
We hope you liked our safety tips for paddling with kids.
Now Go Have Fun And Be Safe!
Always have the right size board for your child