Remember These Tips When Boating with Children

June 5, 2019

Spending quality time with your children is likely the most important thing you do. When that time with your children is spent on a boat, it’s an even better time.

Boating with kids is a wonderful opportunity to bond with them, share fun times and make memories they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives. Of course, boating with children can also be challenging. Kids often have short attention spans, mood swings, and they sometimes exercise poor judgement. On a boat, that can ruin the day for everyone. But that’s no reason to stay on land. Follow these tips, and you’ll make sure your boating experience is fun and safe for everybody.

  • Teach them to swim. It’s never too early to get your kids comfortable around water. Swimming lessons – even if they’re still toddlers – will help their confidence and swimming ability.
  • Always wear lifejackets. While this is always a smart idea, it’s especially important for kids. Their lack of experience makes them prone to accidents. It’s also extra important for you to wear one. You can’t keep your children safe without keeping yourself safe.
  • Explain the rules. While boating is fun, everyone needs to follow certain rules to stay safe. A few good rules are staying seated when the boat is moving, not jumping off the boat until the engine is turned off and the captain says it is okay, keeping hands and feet inside the boat when in motion or docking, and no running onboard.
  • Carry a first aid kit. Kids have a way of getting scrapes, cuts, bumps and bruises. Have a first aid kit available onboard to handle any incidents.
  • Bring plenty of food and drinks. If you’re kids are hungry or thirsty, they’re not going to have a good time. Pack lots of snacks and drinks onboard, enough so you’re not worried about rationing.
  • Plan for the weather. Pack sweatshirts and rain gear, so your kids are warm and dry, and pack them a change of clothes in case they get wet or spill something on themselves.
  • Have sunscreen and bug repellant. Nobody enjoys being cooked by the sun or bitten by bugs, so have plenty of sunscreen and bug repellant onboard. Kids generally won’t ask for either, so remember to apply it to them and reapply throughout the day.
  • Plan activities. Keep your kids engaged and interested in boating by planning fun activities. Have them try fishing. Have a picnic, go swimming in a cove or at a small island, or challenge them to spy marine life and birds. You can also ask them to help navigate by looking for buoys, markers and landmarks.