My son will be 9 1/2 months when we take our vacation. We’re going to be on a houseboat for a week on Lake Powell. The lake is on the Utah/Arizona border, so I’ll need to know what the state regulations are. Do I need a lifejacket for my son? I’ve looked around and can’t seem to find one small enough. Does he need to be in his carseat when we’re moving on the boat? I’ve already got rafts, swim gear, sunblock, and that sort of stuff, along with his everyday stuff, but I’m not sure of the rules for an infant on watercraft. Someone help me please?
This is a FAMILY VACATION. The grandparents, along with the aunts and uncles, will be with us on the houseboat. We have a pack and play, baby gates, and a harness w/leash. He won’t be able to get out of the living room, let alone onto the decks of the boat. Not to mention there will be 10 adults, so he won’t ever be alone. Not taking him is not an option, since that defeats the whole purpose of a FAMILY VACATION.

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5 Responses

  1. Capt. John says:

    What a great-great question! More people should be asking it!

    Does your son need a lifeJacket? YES!
    Does he need to be in a carseat? NO!

    Simply, and factually stated, the law says:
    "EVERYBODY MUST HAVE A PFD…. If an infant is onboard a boat, there must be an infant Type II personal flotation device (PFD) available for that infant."

    The Coast Guard, of course, recommends that the infant wear the PFD at all time while onboard the boat. But there are no USCG requirements for infant seating on any boats.

    As for as "personal" information goes… I am (and have been for 30 + years) a licensed USCG Captain… All my kids were practically raised on one boat or another… So, here is a suggestion… take a pair of those infant "gates" and at least one "play pen" the kid can not get out of. Take the carseat… But most of all…
    Keep the kid on a safety harness with a life-line.

    When our kids were small, they lived on the boat with a safety harness and lifeline "always" attached. We had several lines on the boat, and never took the harness off the kid… if we were inside the cabin… the kid was attached to the line in the cabin – which would let him move freely all around the cabin and even six feet out the cabin door – but no further… When we were out on deck, the kid was taken off one line, and hooked to the other – where he could walk all around the deck – but had not enough line to get past the deck rails….
    A safety harness (in my opinion) is absolutely a must, and your very best insurance of keeping the kid from wondering off and falling overboard… And it will be the best peace of mind equipment you can get for making that vacation safe, enjoyable, and pleasureable.
    Other than that… and your carry on and carry off diaper disposal… I hope you know you can not flush those diapers down a marine toilet… you will have to carry them off with you when you leave the boat!
    But… KEEP THE KID ON A LIFELINE…
    And you will have a wonderful time!
    A good Marine store should have a PFD and a harness and lifeline.

    http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/mse4/pfdchild.htm

  2. HHN says:

    If it’s a house-boat, I recommend water above others.
    Otherwise, the boat cannot travel or float.
    Unless you employ the use of anti gravity hover-lift

  3. James H says:

    Better check before-hand, for the rules! I don’t think i would want to take a 9 1/2 month old kid on a house-boat, for a week, but i guess i’m too cautious! There’s always the chance he might crawl out of the crib, or off the bed, when you are asleep, and go overboard!
    Can’t ya leave him with Granny, or a nanny who might better care for him?
    As for a life jacket, better check at a boating shop for one.
    And, what if the boat sinks, way out on the lake? Can you hold his head out of the water until you are rescued–maybe hours later?

  4. Dan says:

    Ethan’s Mommy,
    I strongly suggest that you leave Ethan with grandparents for the week, as there is just too many things that can go wrong with a 9 month old kid on a houseboat. He can crawl overboard in a flash, day or night. Sunburn is a great risk, too.

    If you do take him, you will need to go to a boat dealer and get a life jacket that fits him, and keep him in it all week. I don’t know what the rules are for infants there, so check with whoever owns the boat, or call the Utah or Arizona authorities, or the Coast Guard in your area for guidance.

    Regards,
    Dan

  5. riverrat says:

    I’ve been to Lake Powell a number of times, but really think you might want to re-consider taking such a young child along with you. Powell is a BIG LAKE, and if your child falls over-board, help is NOT readily available. Even with a large group of people watching the kid; accidents can and do happen. Only an idiot would take an infant on a watercraft. One wrong movement and it turns over, or another boat speeds by and causes a wake and again you’re in the water. If nothing else you will teach the child to fear water.
    Even the smallest accident on the water with the child will ruin the entire trip for everyone. Don’t do it. The kid won’t be aware of what he’s missed. Do yourself a big favor and leave the baby home. This way the entire family will have a pleasant and memorable vacation at Powell.

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