of course there is a risk in taking the baby on a boat, or anyone who cannot swim for that matter. I believe the risk of keeping the baby in the car seat far outweighs the risk of not.
I'm not advocating you keep the baby in the cockpit, in the car seat, under severe weather conditions...they should be down below with supervision, that's where something like a pack and play or another secure area can be used. On our boat, we used the pilot berth, perfect area as it was easily secured with a mesh Lee cloth and padded with pillows or the pack and play in the salon which kept it low and centered which gave a comfortable motion if the seas were rough.
Tartan 37 - S/V Windgeist
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Photo by Joe McCary