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Old     (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       11-06-2008, 9:52 AM Reply   
I was just checking up on some regs for live vests. I have a 3 year-old that I always put a live vest on when underway. I've had to incidents in the past, though. One time after my boat was launched and while at the dock, I put my kid in the boat but hadn't gotten the vest on her yet. Some cop on a loudspeaker yells at me for not having a vest on the kid. I put it on - end of story.

A couple of weeks ago we got back to the dock. We had two 3 year-olds with vests on. After tying up, we took the vests off the kids and then one adult got out of the boat with them and stood on the doc for maybe 30 seconds before walking to the parking lot. While standing there, a San Diego lifeguard yells at us for not having vests on the kids while at the dock. I figured that's b.s., but whatever. End of that story. Now as I'm researching something, I find this:

"California law requires children under the age of 12 to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD while underway (unless tethered to a sailboat or in an enclosed cabin) in a vessel 26 feet long or less."

So am I wrong or both the cop and lifeguard probably just trying to be cautious but ignorant about the law? I was not underway. And besides - as far as standing at the dock, that dock is connected to a beach. I'm sure people that hang out at that dock have kids that walk up on the dock all the time.
Old     (zipe)      Join Date: Mar 2002       11-06-2008, 10:04 AM Reply   
Brett, you are correct. Safety and common sense aside, if you are even drifting with the engine off, you are "underway". If you are anchored or tied up to a fixed object, no vest required.
Old     (cavlxenvy)      Join Date: Aug 2007       11-06-2008, 10:19 AM Reply   
For what its worth, I see many docks that require kids to have life vests on while on the dock.
Old     (nsolis220)      Join Date: May 2007       11-06-2008, 10:23 AM Reply   
ya i just think of it as when close to the water you gotta have a vest on. Its the safest for the child. If your kid is 11 and can swim having on when on the dock probally isnt req. Better be safe than sorry i figure.
Old     (zipe)      Join Date: Mar 2002       11-06-2008, 10:28 AM Reply   
I was bored...

658.3. Life jacket requirements.
(a) No person shall operate a motorboat, sailboat,
or vessel that is 26 feet or less in length, unless every person on board who is 11
years of age or less is wearing a type I, II, III, or V Coast Guard-approved personal
flotation device while that motorboat, sailboat, or vessel is underway.
(3) ‘‘Underway’’ means all times except when the motorboat, sailboat, or vessel is
anchored, moored, or aground
Old    walt            11-06-2008, 2:19 PM Reply   
IMO you should have one on them while anchored too.
Old     (bogiedog1)      Join Date: Jun 2008       11-06-2008, 2:52 PM Reply   
I think Shawn is right.

Earlier this summer we were "floating" between sets, no anchor or anything, and a cop pulled up and questioned me about my 10 year old who was holding but not wearing his vest...The cop told me if we were anchored my son did not need the vest, but since we were floating (technically under way) the law says the vest needed to be on.

If you asked five officers you would probably get 4 or 5 different opinions too...
Old     (downfortheride)      Join Date: Jun 2005 Location: SLC, UT 5600'       11-06-2008, 3:04 PM Reply   
My daughter was on the boat (life jacket on) and leaning over the side trying to touch the water. I was ok with it since she had the vest, next thing you know she was head first in the water. My kids no matter what have a life vest on around water. If they are on the dock, boat, shore, etc. Be safe not sorry.
Old    walt            11-06-2008, 3:23 PM Reply   
I had a friends kid do the same thing Josh. He had his vest on and was fine. It still scared the crap out of me and made me think about how fast things can happen.
Old     (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       11-06-2008, 3:25 PM Reply   
Well we never actually sit there moored at the dock for a long time with the kid without a vest on. However the vest, along with most other boating stuff, is on or stays on the boat when launching and coming back in. That means when the kid 1st gets in the boat, she's without a vest for a few minutes till I put it on. When we dock and she gets out with others, the vest comes off and stays in the boat. That's why both times I was a bit annoyed at what I thought to be an overly anal retentive cop and lifeguard. Then I find out that legally, they're wrong anyway. So I'll continue safely - business as usual, but maybe print out that code just in case some ignorant law enforcement agent of some type thinks he'll not only hassle me, but give me a ticket.
Old    mendo247            11-06-2008, 5:01 PM Reply   
When I was a kid I wasnt allowed on the dock without a vest, id have to wait on shore till I put my vest on lol. We spent all summers on the houseboats and I remember pratcially living with a vest on all summer. After awhile you dont even notice it. There is no reason not to have a vest on the little ones. We all know how fast accidents can happen.

When the little one fell overboard while we were eating lunch it was REALLY COOL to see a lifevest in action. He went head first so he went pretty deep and the vest rolled him over and brought him right to the top before he even knew what happened.
Old     (kvoman)      Join Date: Aug 2006       11-06-2008, 5:26 PM Reply   
Be safe rather than sorry.

I'm sure those rangers/sheriff/lifeguards have seen their share of tragedies so they want to be extra vigilant, especially when you daughter is only 3 yrs old.
Old     (bftskir)      Join Date: Jan 2004       11-06-2008, 6:33 PM Reply   
your focus on what the law is...ignors the fact that alot of stuff happens at the dock, kids could easily get bumped or just fall off the dock. why not simply change your method and put the kids in the jackets while still in the parking lot getting ready and then don't remove them until you are back in the parking lot wiping the boat. what is so important about putting jackets on and taking them off in the boat at the dock?

almost all law enforcement working near water has seen more than their share of drowned children and distraught parents.

what really is important? your kids lives? or that there is no law that says your kid has to have it on while on a dock?...your 3 yr old!
Old     (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       11-06-2008, 7:13 PM Reply   
I see what you guys are saying. It's just my 3 year old had known how to swim for over a year now. She's only without a vest while coming or going to the dock briefly, and so I was a bit annoyed at law enforcement yelling at me - especially in front of other folks. I can understand where they are coming from to some extent because of all the idiots they have to deal with, but I've just been around water and boats long enough and am careful enough to where my kid without a life vest for a few minutes right next to me just is not a big deal.
Old    akman            11-06-2008, 7:29 PM Reply   
Not to beat a dead horse or cause a riff...but I like to think in terms of "what if"

What if your daughter was bumped and fell into the side of the boat, got knocked unconscious and then fell in the water??

That vest sure would come in handy at that point.

Just trying to let you see the other side of the coin.
Old     (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       11-07-2008, 6:43 AM Reply   
You just have to use a little common sense and be careful. I guess me and my family could all just stay home wrapped in plastic bubbles and have everything delivered to the house, then we'd always be safe.

Old     (nsolis220)      Join Date: May 2007       11-07-2008, 9:24 AM Reply   
you know what they say common sense isnt so common.
Old     (bftskir)      Join Date: Jan 2004       11-07-2008, 1:40 PM Reply   
you have a pretty thick skull Brett.
law enforcement knows what they are talking about. You were not at home wrapped in a plastic bubble you were letting a 3 yr old go out on a dock and enter and exit a boat without a life vest on. She knows how to swim? just how well can a 3 yr old swim when suddenly in the water as a surprise?
They seem to have embarrassed you but you still do not get the message.

common sense says have the 3yr old in a life jacket while on the dock.

at least that's what my common sense says.

I live near the Sacramento and American Rivers, so many kids drowned while they waded in water knee deep but went too far and got caught and pulled under the quiet water as their parents were sitting a few feet away momentarily distracted....they put up boards with free jackets to use but again and again and again drownings... they finally passed a local law that kids under 12 must wear a vest if they are in any body of water in sac county, no, common sense is not so common.
Old     (blabel)      Join Date: Jul 2001       11-07-2008, 3:01 PM Reply   
Just keep it on. If anything, when you're launching or sitting at the dock you are more at risk. IF, they go in he/she could disappear under the boat or dock. Based on accounts that I have heard, child drownings happen at the time when parents don't think it's really possible. You just have to turn your head for a second If law enforcement are going to be dicks about something, I'm glad it's that.
Old     (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       11-07-2008, 7:43 PM Reply   
I understand what you all are saying. My daughter is not walking around the boat doing whatever or getting off on the dock on her own. She basically walks down the dock, gets on the boat and is there right next to me while I'm grabbing her vest. That's when the cop yelled at me.

When she gets off the boat to leave, my wife or someone else is already on the dock. I take off her vest, she gets out, her mom holds her hand and they walk away.

100% safe, although I can see why law enforcement might have wrongfully bitched at me due to the non-commons sense idiots out there and all the accidents they see.

So in those scenarios, a vest is just not necessary.

Horse beat to death badly now.
Old     (nsolis220)      Join Date: May 2007       11-07-2008, 8:34 PM Reply   
"non common sense idiots"
Old     (benjaminp)      Join Date: Nov 2008       11-18-2008, 12:36 PM Reply   
Just to share another "what if" story, when I get enough people in my boat, it rides pretty low. One day I stopped very quickly, and the roller actually put the nose under water, and washed my 13 year old cousin from the bow to the back of the cabin. Didnt see that coming at all. But Brett, it seems like you know what you are doing with your own child, and if you are confident in her swimming ability, and in her supervision, that is all that really matters. Law enforcement can over the shoulder parent all they want, raise your kid how you want to.


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