We recently added another tool to the toolbox of keeping The Boy safely on the boat. He is now at the age (3 1/2) where he is curious, impulsive and wants to try and do everything. That means that, in a flash he can be out of the cabin and onto the deck of the boat. If he can fly out of here so fast, then we have to consider the possibility that he could just as quickly end up in the water. It worries me sometimes with A here and taking care of Baby Girl, that The Boy could get into trouble.
So we bought him a turtle watch.
Actually, it is “Safety Turtle personal immersion alarm” that he wears on his wrist or ankle that will send a signal to a Base unit if it gets wet. i.e. falls in the lake. The base unit stays plugged in and is kept centrally in the boat along with one of the smoke detectors and the Carbon Monoxide detector. If the “turtle” gets wet, the base alarm sounds an ear-piercing siren that is loud enough to be heard anywhere around the boat.
So … it had it’s first ‘test’ the other day. The Boy was out on deck and all of a sudden the alarm went off. A. bolted out the door to see what was going on and found The Boy … licking his new turtle watch. Huh?! Yep, licking it. Nope, don’t know why. Anyway, now we know it works and only his wrist had to get wet to check it out.
Keeping kids safe on a boat is a topic that I’ve put a lot of thought into over the past couple of years. (Other post here.) I always seem to come back to the concept of Vigor’s Invisible Black Box. Check out the post Safety at Sea from a couple of years ago for a description of VIBB. Every time you envision what could go wrong and then plan for it, you are adding another piece of equipment to your VIBB. Safety, not just at sea, but generally in life is a combination of awareness and small corrections. Awareness of what could go wrong – awareness of something that is going wrong and then the small corrections to prevent or stop that situation. Of course, I’m not saying that disaster will not strike, but with planning and awareness you can prevent the series of small events that lead to catastrophe.
John Vigor wrote an article for Good Old Boat about the Black Box theory – check it out, it’s an interesting read.
Finally – every boater who ever leaves the dock should have John’s book, Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat: A Guide to Essential Features, Handling, and Gear. Even if you have no intention of going off-shore, the concepts and planning will help keep you safe anytime you are out on the water.