Perhaps there’s no better family activity than boating. Through boating, kids get to experience the outdoors, feel a sense of exploration, and enjoy fun activities such as fishing and wakeboarding. But having kids on a boat also presents its share of challenges, such as keeping them safe and holding their attention. Here are a few tips to help make your kids’ boating adventure a success.
- Everyone needs to wear lifejackets. It’s important for children who are inexperienced on a slippery, unstable boat. But it’s also important for you because you need to keep yourself safe first if you’re going to keep your kids safe. Remember that most states have mandatory age restrictions and that the size of the lifejacket matters – lifejackets are only effective if they fit properly.
- Be prepared for the weather. Bring sweatshirts and rain gear, even if you don’t think you’ll need them, plus a well-stocked first-aid kit and lots of strong sun screen and bug repellant.
- Teach kids that there are strict rules to be followed on a boat. While boating is fun, they should know there are dangers and they need to act responsibly. That means no running onboard and no hanging your feet over the bow. Keep hands and feet inside the boat when docking, and don’t play on the ladder.
- Keep children engaged and interested with activities. Fishing is great for kids. Plan a picnic and go swimming. Have them look for buoys, markers and landmarks or challenge them to see what they can spot for marine life. Enjoy the family time by leaving the phones and video games at home, or have your kids invite a friend along. Bring buckets and shovels along for building sand castles on the beach.
- Have plenty of food and drinks. Most kids seem to always be hungry and thirsty. Make sure they have all the food and drinks they need for the day and then some.