Boating with Children – Do’s and Don’ts
Boating with your family can be the ultimate adventure, even when your family consists of small children! The water is the perfect place for lifelong memories to be made and valuable skills and connections formed. Stepping out of your day-to-day routine allows time for more focus on connecting as a family! Boating is also a great opportunity to teach your children lessons such as teamwork and how to have fun together. When properly planned out, boating with children is not difficult, but actually great family fun! Here are a few of our best tips for successful boating with children:
- Remind them of the Rules
Before even stepping on the dock, run through your list of rules and expectations for when you board the vessel. Two great rules we’ve found to be the most helpful include: children always wear a lifejacket – no exceptions & when the engines are on, all children are to be sitting – no standing or walking until the engines are shut off. Other hazards should be addressed too, such as never getting between the boat and the dock and never swimming underneath the boat.
- Find Comfortable Life Jackets
Going back to the rule of children always wear a lifejacket – no exceptions; it may be worth it to invest the time and money into finding lifejackets they are most comfortable in. Just because a child may know how to swim does not mean they do not need a lifejacket. Accidents happen. It is vital to make sure everyone onboard has a properly fitted USCG-approved lifejacket. Bright colors are also preferred as they can be seen easiest. Coats float, children don’t!
- Teach them about the Radio
In case of emergency, everyone on the boat should be knowledgeable in how the radio works and be comfortable enough to use it if they need to call for help, including children.
- Sun Safety
Don’t forget the sunscreen! Make sure whichever brand of sunscreen you choose is water-resistant and at least SPF 30. Apply and re-apply every two hours while out boating.
Be sure everyone is staying hydrated! It is easy to forget to drink when you’re out in the sun having fun! Dehydration is no joke and can end a boating excursion quickly.
- Extra Clothes
Wet children mean cold children. When boating, it is inevitable to get wet, so be sure to pack extra clothes for the day as well as some warmer clothes for if it cools off. Don’t forget a towel either!