Wedding Woes

Boating safety conundrum

Dear Prudence,
My partner’s grandparents invite us to their riverside cottage several times each summer. My partner refuses to wear a life jacket while on his grandfather’s boat. No one else in his family wears one either. We have a toddler, and I insist that he wear a life jacket and I wear one too. I’m troubled by my partner’s refusal because I believe he should be a role model for our son. I have relatives who invite us to their lakeside cottage occasionally. My family has an expectation that everyone wear a life jacket and my partner has reluctantly consented to wear one when we’re with my family. I want to raise my son to be comfortable in and around water and also have a family culture of safety so he’s not wondering why he and I are the only ones wearing life jackets when he is older. My mom suggested that I refuse to get aboard with our son unless everyone has a jacket on, but that doesn’t sit easily with me. Do you have any other ideas?

—The Water Is Really Cold

Re: Boating safety conundrum

  • 6fsn6fsn member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper

    The partner and family are adults who can make their own decisions. 

    Not the same level, but sFIL never takes his cap off at the table.  I don't care who gets pissy when I tell 6let to remove his. 

  • I'm with 6. Yes, she should make sure the toddler has a vest. But I've boated on lakes without a vest as an adult - because I'm a strong swimmer, the boat looks sturdy, we haven't been going fast, it's really hot out, etc, etc. I'm still here. 

    She sounds a little scared of life, IMO. I wonder what other safety measures she takes, and if this is an incidence of a larger problem in parenting styles - like, is she *too* safety focused, and is dad not enough? 
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    larrygaga
  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Toddlers should always wear a life jacket. I wonder if she worries that the toddler won't wear the jacket if nobody else does?

    In that case, who the hell cares how the baby feels. It's a baby. It does what adults wants it to do.

    She should wear a jacket if she wants, as well. Everyone else can make their own choices. If I was in a boat and someone told me they refused to get on unless I put a jacket on, I would push off and say seeyalater!
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    pinkshorts27
  • Its the law for the toddler to wear a vest in most states. As for an adult, its up to the adult. I know I wouldn't wear a life vest unless I was waterskiing or tubing.
  • I've been boating and swimming since I was born. When we were 12 after passing all the levels in swimming lessons my dad took us to one end of the mile long lake and said if you can swim back from here, you don't need to wear a life jacket in the boat anymore. Each one of us did it, no problem. I know it won't help if the boat flips and hits me in the head or something, but we're also all trained in life saving so were all comfortable without one. That being said... Toddlers should always wear life jackets
  • I can swim, even out of shape, 3 miles with absolutely no issue, even in a lake and once in the ocean, definitely in a swimming pool.  I am an absolute water baby, who has had instructors make me slow down while swimming b/c they couldn't keep up.

    Having said that, I always wear a life vest.  Each time I swam mileage, I was sober and I was prepared (not riding long term in a boat, proper nutrition, water intake, etc).  That's not what happens the moment you're in a boat, having fun, and not preparing for swimming long term.  Adults can drown themselves if they like, but we're all "so powerful" until caught by an undercurrent or something else holding us back.  Everyone should be wearing a vest; toddlers more especially.
    dharmabunny
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