We love boat life and boating with kids! We love spending a summer day on the boat with our kids and exploring the lake. So many fun activities to do on the boat and spend some quality time as a family.
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Boating with Kids
Our family is familiar with typical lake boating, but if you are new to the boat life or planning on trying it out with some friends here are a few tips to help you feel a bit calmer with your little ones.
1. Get your Children Comfortable with the Idea of the Kids Boating
Depending on your kid’s personality you will have to tackle this differently since they may run right for the boat or cling to your arms. Getting kids on a boat is an important part of making them feel comfortable and safe on a boat.
For the fearful kid – go slow. Wear the life jacket around the shoreline, on the dock and even just sit in the boat without it moving. Reassure him/her they are safe and answer any questions they may have.
For the no-fear kid – focus on the safety of boating. Boating safety and kids’ boat safety keeps us all safe. Here are a few of the boat safety rules we go through with our kids.
- Kids always have to wear life jackets – At all times for kids boating safety! Safest life jackets for toddlers are especially needed because they are constantly moving.
- Life vest for toddlers – Best to have ones for infants and toddlers have the handles and neck floating rest since they can’t swim yet. We also like to have the strap that goes in between their legs to keep it secure.
- Life vest for Kids – We like life jackets for kids that are quick-dry and easier for them for swimming and tubing
- “Bums on Chairs” when the motor is on. No walking or standing while the boat is on. pontoon boat seats
- We’ve even used the idea of getting a kids boat toy to help kids get excited about going on boat rides.
- Explain the part of the boat to the kids to help them be aware of the terms and what to stay away from. Ex. we always remind the kids to stay away from the boat prop when jumping off the boat and where the boat fuel tanks are. Boat safety for kids is key for them to feel comfortable on the boat.
2. Sun Safety for Boating Kids
Most often we are on the boat when it is swimsuits and sunglasses weather. So to keep the kids from burning to a crisp don’t forget about sun safety. With the reflection from the water and the breeze sometimes it is hotter than you think. So don’t forget to bring sunscreen and hats to shade you from the sun. (Ironically after gathering my boating pics I have no photos with my kids wearing hats… trust me I do have them with me…lol)
Toddler/Baby Tip – When our kids napped on the boat, we would bring an extra-large umbrella for sunshade and work great for toddler sleeping on boat.
- Sunhats for Kids – water and stain resistant, plus cover the neck for kids.
- Sunglasses – these ones are polarized and good for water reflection, plus flexible arms.
- Sun Umbrella – for boating with a toddler or boating with a baby so they can sleep and get extra coverage.
3. Snacks for Kids on Boats
Snack, snacks and more snacks. It’s just like having a picnic, as soon as you pack it the kids are hungry. Kids on boat seem to eat way more than they do on land. Depending on how long we are boating for we bring fruit, veggies, sandwiches, chips, candy, crackers, etc.
Most importantly make sure you have plenty of water for everyone to drink in the cooler. We also try to only bring snacks too which will keep the boat somewhat clean. So, no Doritos on the boat!
- Soft-shelled Cooler – this 18L size is good for bringing on the boat to keep some food but not too big.
- Reusable containers – we like to use these bento type boxes for the kids
- Wet wipes – we like this easy-to-go kind for clean up messy hands or faces.
- Ice packs – keep things cool
- Water bottles – these are great for toddlers on boats with straws and these are great for kids on boats with no spills
4. Boat Activities for Kids & Boat Entertainment
So how can you fill up a full day on the boat! Tubing, wakeboarding, wakeskating, swimming, listening to music, fishing and relaxing by cruising the shoreline for just a few ideas.
Children on boats need other things to do sometimes so be prepared with some boat activities for preschoolers and kids. Having activities actually will help for the safety for toddlers on boats by keeping them busy.
What to Pack on the Boat with Kids?
- Inflatable Water Toys – This one is great for all ages of kids and adults or this one for bumpier rides.
- Water Activity Games – We like to bring one of these water balls and toss them around while in life jackets
- Kids toy boat & other favourite kid toys to play with on the boat
- Fishing Poles & Fishing Gear – Find out our recommendations for best fishing poles.
- Inflatable childrens boats – We’ve used these when we are staying in one spot and fun for the kids to float.
- Airpump that will work on your boat.
We love to go fishing with the kids on the boat and it’s a fun and easy activity for toddlers and kids to enjoy. Turn any kind of boat you have into a kids fishing boat with just some tackle and a little fishing rod. Check out our recommendations for Best Fishing Poles for kids HERE!
5. Fun Attitude – Having fun on a Boat
Bring some humour, a fun attitude and a willingness to at least try something new. Your kids will love seeing you have some fun with them. Jump in the water and just have a good time. They will be memories you will cherish forever. Boating for kids can be so much more enjoyable if you as the parent are having fun too!
Sometime even just after supper boat rides for family time are the best fun too!
Looking for more Outdoor Fun Family Activities?
- Camping with Kids Complete Checklist
- Camping with Kids Food Checklist
- Best Kids Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP)
- Campfire S’mores
- Best Fishing Poles for Kids
We hope you have found this boat information for kids valuable to help with boat safe kids and ensuring you and your family have a safe and fun boating trip with the kids. You can find out more boat safety tips with any country boating guidelines to ensure you are compliant with boating rules in the area you live.
Whether is a baby on a boat, toddlers boating or just keeping kids on the docks safe all these tips for boating with kids should help. If we’ve missed something please let us know in the comments below.
Happy Safe Boating!