When enjoying a day at a lake or at the beach, families often love to spend time water-skiing. Both adults and kids are usually eager to zip across the water, pulled along by a boat. However, before you send your kids out to enjoy water-skiing, ask yourself if they're ready for it and if they'll be safe.
In this kids' guide to staying safe while water-skiing, we emphasize the following basic safety tips:
1) Begin water-skiing prep on land
If it's your kid's first time water-skiing, you shouldn't wait until they're already at the water's edge to teach them about it. Carefully review water safety in advance. Have them try on the various equipment, particularly a life jacket and skis, at home. You can even pull them along slowly on land (with your hands) when they're wearing their skis, just to give them an idea of what the sensation will be like and how they should hold their body. Taking a course with a certified instructor on water-skiing (and water safety more generally) is highly recommended. And remember - even if your kid has already done all of this, it's always worth it to review the safety guidelines anyway.
2) Use the right equipment
In addition to having a well-fitted, USCG-approved life jacket, you should also carefully consider what equipment would be best for your kids to use. For example, kids may be more comfortable hanging onto a boom when they ski, as it usually gives them greater stability and keeps them closer to the boat. There are also special skis or sleds available for beginners to help keep them more stable on the water. Always carefully gauge your child's capabilities and comfort levels and make gradual adjustments.
3) Don't pull any stunts
When your kid is out on the water, it isn't the time to suddenly make the boat go really quickly or engage in other reckless behavior. Even experienced adults could get injured in such circumstances. Also, stick to areas you know about. Don't decide to explore a new body of water that may have partially submerged rocks or other hidden dangers in it. Remain mindful of the weather, as well, and avoid areas with heavy traffic so as to minimize the chances of colliding with other boats.
4) Make sure your kids are comfortable
Your kids may not be ready to (or may not want to) water-ski on their own, or at all. Don't pressure them to. One way to help them feel more comfortable is to get in the water with them. You could help them get stabilized and then remain in the water as they ski; they'll know that even if they slip up, they won't be in the water by themselves. Sometimes, their discomfort might stem from the location you've chosen to water-ski; they might feel more comfortable in one body of water over another. Always pay attention to their needs.
If you need to discuss a water-skiing accident involving you or your child, don't hesitate to contact us. By following basic preventative safety tips, you'll hopefully avoid any serious accidents and just have a fun time on the water.