Originally Posted by Kids4sail
We have a h23 and sail on an inland lake. Is it safe to let the kids play down below without a pfd on and make them put it on when they come up to the cockpit. We are not dealing with any waves due to the size of the lake.
As others mentioned, it depends on a number of things. Kid's age, personality, boat/cabin design, etc.
It should be okay but if they are tots and can't swim, keep an eye on the escape hatches. Both the companionway, and forward hatch if there is one.
The problem is, kids can move fast and unpredictably. If you can't guarantee that they won't get out of the cabin, then you either have to keep an eye on them or keep the pfd on. Some kids don't mind leaving the pfds on when belowdecks. If it's real hot, most will look for an opportunity to remove them.
It's a judgement call based on the kids and the boat. Ultimately, only you as the parent can make that.