If you have a pontoon or a water deck that children are going to use, you want to ensure that area is safe. Besides adult supervision, there are a number of safety elements you may want to consider. Here are seven items that may help.
1. Side Rails
Rather than having an open sided pontoon or dock, consider putting up side rails. Ideally, the rails should be designed to reflect the same safety standards that you would use in a home or commercial space. In particular, all the railings and openings should be too small for a child to squeeze through. In addition, the railing should be structured in a way that the child cannot easily climb it and jump into the water.
2. Throwable Personal Flotation Devices
Just in case a child does get past the pontoon railings and into the water, you should have some personal flotation devices on hand that you can throw into the water. If you throw an inner tube to the child, that gives them something to grab onto until you can swim out and rescue them.
3. Personal Flotation Devices
Of course, rather than throwing the child an inner tube, it's usually just safer to have the child wearing a personal flotation device or lifejacket. Make sure that your pontoon has a place to store life jackets, and make sure you have child-sized safety gear available. In most cases, children can slip out of adult-sized safety gear once they are in the water.
4. First Aid Kits
If a child gets injured, you want to be able to respond as soon as possible. So you can, a first aid kit is essential. Ideally, you should have bandages for cuts, and beyond that, you should be trained in CPR to help drowning victims with water in their lungs.
If there is a place to swim around the pontoon, you want to ensure that kids don't go underneath the pontoon. They could get stuck under there, and if the tide comes in, they could drown. A set of nets around the underside of the pontoon may help.
Additionally, if you allow swimming in that area, you may want to put in buoys. Those serve as a visual reminder on which areas the kids are allowed to use. That helps to prevent children from swimming out too far and potentially drowning.
Accidents don't just happen in the day. Lights can help you keep an eye on kids in the dark. Additionally, if someone falls off the pontoon at night, the lights can illuminate the water during the rescue effort.