Our Boating Community is Unique
Lake Safety Committee
By: Bruce C. Bower
Among all the other situations I have moaned about, the boaters on our lake still manage to surprise me. Three or four years ago I noticed young parents taking their infant children for a ride on their jet-ski. Considering I’m not sitting on my deck for hours at a time, I saw many more than one incident every year. I called ODNR Watercraft Enforcement and asked about age limits for passengers on a ski. I also asked about what PFD is mandatory for infants/children under 30 pounds. I was told it was being considered to make an addition to the Ohio Revised Code. I was doing yard work at the lake last week and saw a young woman on a jet ski with an INFANT. The youngster could not have been more than six months old! Mom was holding the child and driving the ski at I estimate around 12 to15 mph.
I called ODNR Columbus and asked what was happening with the possible law to limit this activity. Here is what I got back: “there are no current proposals to set a minimum age or size for a passenger on a personal watercraft. The situation you describe is fairly uncommon so a law change would likely not be supported”. Do you hear that, our situation is FAIRLY UNCOMMON? We are UNIQUE. I do not have a degree in early child behavior or child psychology, but after watching my two children and four grandchildren grow and develop, I say youngsters do not remember occurrences before the age of one. What are these people trying to accomplish by putting their children in un-needed danger, certainly not for life long stunning memories? What about “shaken-baby syndrome, does that not apply here?
Here’s a list of What If’s: what if you run out of fuel, what if your engine quits, what if your engine catches fire, what if you hit debris, such as a semi-submerged log, what if you catch a wave incorrectly and tip over? What if you tip over, will you be able to save your child? If you must continue this behavior, at least you should get a proper fitting PFD that keeps the child’s head up when in the water and one that is designed to flip the baby over to be face up.
This is the first article this season and I’m already hollering at you. As always, call me if questions or comments. Bower out 216.906.2301