Tricounty News

Boating safety

Boating is a fun way to spend the afternoon during the hot summer months. Safety should be the number one priority of all parents when children are on board. Parents know the importance of using life preservers, but here are a few dangers that parents might not be aware of:

• Houseboats are designed in such a way that exhaust from the generator comes out close to the swim platform. The carbon monoxide released in the exhaust is enough to overcome swimmers close by or passengers sitting on the swim platform.

• While houseboats are the most dangerous because of the generators used to power the cabins, other types of boats also release toxic exhaust. Children should be kept away from areas that exhaust is being released.

Consider these tips as well to insure safety on the water:

• Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors in House Boats or other boats with cabins - because children have less lung capacity than adults, they are more susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Make sure all passengers wear life vests.

• Make First Aid available including a radio.

• Make sure there is always a spotter when pulling someone on skis or an inflatable behind a boat. The driver must be alerted if the passenger falls.

• Be aware of other boats close to you - you should always be at least 20 feet away from the nearest boat to avoid collisions and to avoid breathing the other boat's exhaust.

Don Keenan is the founder of Keenan's Kids Foundation and author of child safety book entitled 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe, available at and All proceeds benefit the Keenan's Kids Foundation.