What you need to know before launching your boat with children this weekend

Posted at 5:24 PM, May 26, 2017

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Memorial Day weekend tends to bring fun on the water but you don't want to become a statistic for the U.S. Coast Guard.

"Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Harbor Fest. These are all like kind of big events for the Coast Guard," said U.S. Coast Guard in Hampton Roads Second Class Operations Specialist, Kris Gordon.

Coast guard officials want families to be well prepared and mindful of children while on the boat.

Gordon added, "They're not going to have the same awareness as the adults will."

Before stepping on a boat the Coast Guard said all children under 13-years-old are required to wear a life jacket at all time.

"All life jackets will be coast guard approved and they'll also tell you the weight requirements so you just want to make sure they fit the child correctly," Gordon said.

Life jacket buckles should be snapped together and straps are tucked in. Keep sunscreen on your kids and make sure they stay hydrated.

Once you're on board Coast Guard officials warn parents to keep their children supervised.

Gordon added, "You just don't want to have them kind of free roaming around the boat especially when the boat is in motion and especially on the bow."

Make sure equipment including radios and boat anchors are working in case the worse happens.

Before you and family head out on the water this weekend the Coast Guard also recommends you to let a second party know where you're going and what time you'll be back.