Here is a list of my top 10 tips for boating with kids from weather, activities, safety, keeping warm to childproofing the boat.
TOP 10 TIPS FOR BOATING WITH KIDS
1. Weather & Location – Always check the weather and change your plans if it is going to be rough. Think about where you are going depending on the conditions. Try to pick sheltered waters, as you want to have a safe, fun and happy experience when boating.
2. Activities – If you have young children, bring a few plastic toys to keep them busy (stacking cups are fun and good for water play) and for older kids, fishing rods or snorkelling gear. Teach children that swimming in open water is different to a pool as they need to be aware of swell and currents.
3. Childproof boat – Just like at home, make sure the boat is safe for young children. Keep knives, hooks, sharp objects, ropes, winches and safety equipment such as flares out of reach.
4. Be Sun smart – You are more exposed to the sun on the water so ensure kids are well protected by sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and protective clothing (long sleeve shirts). Reapply sunscreen throughout the day and bring spare hats in case one blows away.
5. Food – Bring plenty of drinking water, food and snacks. It can be tricky finding food while on the water and kids soon get grumpy when they are hungry and are easily dehydrated so keep the fluids up.
6. Stay warm – It can get cold on boats even on a warm day or when the sun goes down. Bring a change of clothes, towels, jumpers or maybe a blanket to snuggle in.
7. Life Jackets – Ensure jackets meet required safety standards and fit your children properly. Get kids into a good habit of wearing them at all times, just like putting a seatbelt on in the car.
8. Be responsible – Watch children vigilantly and with young kids, always have a second adult on board to supervise as the captain can’t watch and drive at the same time. To keep you and your loved ones safe, avoid consuming alcohol when boating.
9. Maintenance – Check the boat and make sure everything is ready to go, battery is charged, boat has ample fuel, there is plenty of fresh water on board and bungs are in. Trips are always more fun when everything is well organised and stress free.
10. Safety gear – Ensure you have all the relevant safety gear on board and bring a mobile phone. Know how to use your radio in case of an emergency.