When my husband and I started taking sailing lessons I knew it was a matter of when, not if, we would own our own sailboat someday. And that day came just last year. But I was already expecting our first child when we bought the boat. So that meant a whole new set of parental decisions and child proofing lay ahead.
Actually the decision to own a boat factored into our recreational plans as a family. I grew up camping in Montana and my husband grew up around boats in Connecticut. So we both wanted to continue a tradition of spending quality time in the great outdoors as a family. But sailing is the new path we chose together. Neither of us knew how to sail until we started taking lessons. And for me it was also my first introduction to boating, which included everything from learning the rules of the “road” to safety. Not to mention a brand new appreciation for wind direction and speed.
George is already being exposed to boating. He got his first infant life vest as a Christmas present last year when he was just barely a month old. And now that he weighs 18 pounds he can wear it somewhat comfortably and join us on deck. The life vest has taken some getting used to, it is something akin to the scene in the movie A Christmas Story where the younger brother falls down in the snow and can’t get up due to the ridiculous number of layers he is wearing. In the life vest George can’t move his head easily and it pushes into his cheeks when he sits on in my lap. It would be funny if I didn’t feel bad for him! But learning about boat safety is all part of his boating education. And right now he is so squirmy, he definitely can’t be on deck without a personal floatation device (PFD). As he grows he will be more comfortable in his infant life vest, hopefully. (No we aren’t bad parents but the life vest did come off for the photo below while we were at the dock.)
In case you find yourself in the market for an infant life vest, or PFD, you do have several choices online from sites such as REI, West Marine and others. BabyCenter.com has a helpful article on infant boat safety: “When Can My Baby Go On a Boat?”
We are currently using an infant life vest purchased from West Marine.