Safety regulations for an 11 year old

-- Last Updated: Sep-13-04 6:47 PM EST --

I am a single mom with an 11 yr old daughter, we live on a small lake. She is a natural & we both took a good course this summer. Exits have been done, but still a bit clumbsy.

I bought 2 (baby) Sky's --one for each of us. What are healthy, standard safety regulations for an 11 year old girl in a kayak? Please be extremely specific. I am trying to think long term and establish correct guidelines now so I don't have to redo them every 6 months as her capability (and/or independence) grows.
Thanks! any help will bring relief & make our kayaking more fun.

You want specific safety rules from us concerning YOUR daughter? a thousand perfect stangers?? who are ‘we’ and why would you trust ‘us’ on specifics? just checkin’!

now IMHO,

you took a course and both did wet exits?


you always wear a PFD?


she NEVER paddles alone?

well…maybe…your call.

you never paddle in chop or wind?


see my point?

grow and practice your skills together and the ‘specific rules’ will become obvious.


I second
what Steve said. I paddle with my 8 and 9 yr. old daughters. I decide what is safe cause thier my responsiblity. It is up to each parent to pick what they think is appropriate or safe for their kids. Not trying to be hurtful or harsh, too many variables for someone to tell ya over an electronic connection what to do.

Be There
Maybe I have Nemo’s dad syndrome, but I don’t think I would want an 11 year old daughter paddling without my being there.

“You think you can do these things but you just can’t Nemo!” :slight_smile: Lou

Kids need supervision because they
tend to lack good judgement. Same as an adult beginner in some ways, but kids seem to shuck the PFD and disappear round the bend faster than most adults. We can give some suggestions, but you need to supervise your situation.

It’s a good opportunity to get out on the water with her! Have fun and paddle safe!

first you wear you pfd before your

– Last Updated: Sep-08-04 11:27 AM EST –

boat hits the water. You must lead by example on this one. Out pfd's are on before we step on the dock.

After that everything varies. some kids at age 9 can swim 30 yards under water, turn ten underwater flips, and conduct an effective blindfolded grid search for quarters in the shallow end.

Not likely to have much chop on a really small lake, so a wet exit, a swim through warm water,and walk home might be the worst thing you face. On the other hand capsize in New England in the winter and you can die in a pond in a minute.

Can she swim to the shoreline of the lake and walk home from any place. What is the maximum wave height,and minimum water temperature of air and water she might encounter. How long would the walk take. Would it be dangerous or embarrassing in a bathing suit. Would she or you carry a dry bag with dry clothes every time.

What kind of a child is she?

Nobody can make this call for you but we can tell you some of the things you need to think about in order to make a call you can live with.

There is no safety this side of the grave, but allowing a child to be in a canoe or kayak where a capsize gives a significant risk of death (usually by hypothermia) is foolhardy. I will paddle my huge 29 inch wide tandem on a calm pond with low water temperatures, but I will not paddle there with my daughter. I would never paddle on the ocean without serious immersion protection. For giving you some perspective regular boat is 21.5 inches wide.

For my money, swimming and diving in a pool is more dangerous than kayaking in a totally exitable pond with the exception of the necessity of a solid wet exit and serious consideration of entrapment. (I once had my shoelaces wrap around a footpeg. I was unable to get out of the boat quickly while upright. Perhaps the assistance of being upside down would have enabled me to get out, perhaps missing one roll that day could have cost me my life.) The pool has hard sides and hard edges to bang you head on, and can be difficult to exit.

So you have to consider things like shoelaces, floatation or bulkheads and hatches in both ends of the boat water and air temps, etc.

My regulations for myself change every 6 months these days, got to learn to live with that.

same age…
Like some wrote earlier - you have to make decisions regarding the level of responsibility and abilities of your own child and there are many factors to consider.

I have a daughter the same age as yours so I’ll share with you some of our guidelines and we too have a cottage on a nice sized pond.

She never kayaks without wearing a PFD and everything is properly fastened and fitted.

No shoes or sandals when kayaking.

She doesn’t wear a spray skirt - she knows how to wet exit with one but prefers not to wear it at all.

If she’s kayaking with family of similar age they must stay within sight of shore. With an adult it doesn’t matter.

Kayaking alone - her boundaries are closer to shore rather than within sight and an aware adult should be onshore.

Things I consider - she’s a good and competent swimmer. She doesn’t generally kayak in cold weather read October - mid May, If she does capsize she knows what to do and she can always swim to shore and walk the edge back home.

She knows to take care of the boat but that her safety is more important. Leave the boat and I’ll find it if necessary.

Good luck -

Childhood Invincibility
Forgive me for stating the obvious, but children have a way of finding exceptions to the rules.

Something to remember is that a child feels invincible. No matter what happens, they feel that they will come through it unscathed. We all felt this false sense of security as children, and sometimes as adults, too. These things happen to other people, not to me.

With this in mind, it’s important that we enforce whatever rules we set.

If you state that she ALWAYS wears a PFD, then you have to be careful not to give in when she is only “paddling near the shore in shallow water”.

If the water temperature requires use of a wet suit, then she has to wear one even for a “short paddle before dinner”.

Etc, etc, etc.

And, set a good example for her.

Of course, I’m sure you already understand this, but we’ve all seen enough parents who don’t.

I hope you enjoy many happy years kayaking together!

Safety for any Age
I think you may have the answer you seek in the first paragraph.

I am a single mom with an 11 yr old daughter, we live on a small lake. She is a natural & we both took a good course this summer. Exits have been done, but still are feel clubsy.

I would recommend that you and your daughter continue practicing self-rescues and even continue with other classes and learn the roll. A one time class with out a continued practice for performance and perfection may be a lost cause.

I Lie
California state law requires that childern under age 7 must always wear a PFD in any boat, iincluding power boats. I lie and say it is required until age 12. I might change it to 14…

Can’t really say what you need to do without knowing you, but swimming skills are very important. I was learning to surf at about that age, but I grew up in the water.

thanks & keep advising!

– Last Updated: Sep-08-04 10:31 AM EST –

I am not as ignorant as I seem, the PFD is a given -- as is adult company. Thanks for all specific suggestions and advice concerning priorities--I appreciate all.
-The Mom