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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.

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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-26-2006 01:32 PM
T37Chef FYI for you Maryland Sailors

New Life Jacket Law for Children Becomes Effective April 1, 2006
On April 1, 2006 a new Maryland law governing personal flotation devices (PFDs) for children goes into effect. Under the new law, if a child is less than 4 years of age or weighs under 50 pounds, the child must wear a PFD with specific additional safety features including: a strap that is secured between the child’s legs to fasten together the front and back of the PFD; an inflatable headrest or high collar to keep the child’s head above water; and a web handle to ensure the ready accessibility of the child from the vessel. Read more..
Effective June 1, 2001, all children under the age of 7 must WEAR a United States Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (Life Jacket - Type I, II, III or V) while underway on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length on Maryland waters. Recreational vessel includes motorboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and any other device capable of being used for transportation on the water, when the vessel is being used for other than commercial purposes.

The Life Jacket must be the proper size for the child and must be in good and serviceable condition.
This requirement does not apply when:
  • A vessel is moored or anchored.
  • A child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.
10-26-2006 12:30 PM
Cruisingdad Jim,

Ahh... another future sailor!!

PS All with kids, Mustang makes two kinds. For the older kids, the barrel type shown below is without a doubt the way to go (as Jim has shown). For the younger, I reccommend in the strongest terms, the jacket that has the crotch strap, zipper, and head support. Especailly the head support, because you want to make sure that when they fall in, they come up Face UP and supported out of the water.
10-26-2006 11:20 AM
Jim H
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad
We use the Mustang PFD's too. You will see in many of my past threads that I am a big fan of them. I will tell you that they do work!!
Yup-- here's a pic of my son from our Cal 20 daysail last Sunday

We were lucky because they gave away free Mustangs to thousands of kids at the Portland boat show last year, and we snagged one for both my son and daughter. I hope they do it again this year.

Jim H
10-26-2006 10:47 AM
Cruisingdad We use the Mustang PFD's too. You will see in many of my past threads that I am a big fan of them. I will tell you that they do work!!

Saw something new at West a few weeks ago. I might consider it for offshore. It is a auto inflate for kids. I think it had D rings.. cannot remember now. For some reason, this was the first time I have seen them. Made by Sospenders, as I recall.

As far as the tether and LJ's in general, I will share what we have been doing for some years: No going forward without an adult during the day. No going forward at all at night. If we are anchored, you can go without a LJ, but not forward without supervision. If we are moving, you have to wear a LJ unless you are down below. No going into the cockpit without an adult outside. Sound strict? Maybe, but my kids have not fallen off the boat yet (now the dock and boarding is a different story).

Keep them in a LJ and they get accustomed to them. Any question, just PM me.

- CD
10-25-2006 01:50 PM
sailingdog He often is...just hates to face the truth of that fact....
10-25-2006 01:49 PM
LkWinnipesaukee [QUOTE=Surfesq]Both of you guys are idiots ... Any child under 14 must wear a life jacket according to the USCG Regulations. QUOTE]

Unfortunately, you're wrong. Check your facts.
10-24-2006 11:25 PM
sailingdog Yes, our resident barrister resorts to insults when any one disagrees with him or calls his houseboat a barge....or a land-locked condo... since it hasn't seen the water and has some pretty permanent looking steps leading up to it. I don't think he's ever planning on floating it.
10-24-2006 10:15 PM
Faster Surfesq is calling other people idiots with too much time on their hands?!.....and the definition of irony is?
10-24-2006 08:39 PM
Surfesq Both of you guys are idiots with way too much time on your hands. (nice guys but idiots). Any child under 14 must wear a life jacket according to the USCG Regulations. You cannot substitute a harness for a life jacket. So get the combination if you must have a child in a life jacket.
10-24-2006 08:11 PM
Faster Just another opinion.....

I would hesitate to tether children down in anything but extreme conditions. I think it's better to get them accustomed to moving around on the boat and learn how to cope with the motion. Ten year-olds are most certainly old enough to start helping out with the sailing as well.

On any reasonably equipped boat there should be enough security in the cockpit and within the lifelines for all but the youngest children. They must learn the first 3 rules of sailing at an early age:
#1 Stay on the boat
#2 Stay on the boat
#3 - Stay on the *&%$# boat.

If they learn to rely on a harness, the first time you decide it's not necessary is the day they'll go over the side. We sailed with our kids from "days old", only tethered them in once about age 4 or 5 in a lumpy crossing - in all the time we cruised with these kids not once did anyone go overboard by accident. They grew up learning "one hand for the task, one hand for you".
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