Going out on a boat with your family is a great way to spend quality time with your kids and to make some lasting memories with them. However, children have much different needs than adults do, and in order to keep them happy and comfortable, you should do whatever you can to anticipate and address those needs before they cause problems. With a little preparation and planning, you can have all the enjoyable family boat trips you like with no tears or disasters.
Jet Ski of USA is proud to be your southern Florida boat dealer, so here are some of our best tips for boating with children to help you have relaxing and fun family adventures.
Teach Your Kids To Swim
Children can learn to swim much earlier than you might think! You can start them in introductory water lessons around the age of one, where a parent holds their baby in the water and helps them to become comfortable in it. Formal lessons can begin around the age of four.
Getting your children acclimated to the water will help them to not fear it, whether it’s a deep lake or the open ocean, and it will also help keep them safe if they fall overboard. They should learn how to float on their backs, tread water, hold their breath and perform basic swimming strokes.
Remember to talk to them about the different types of risks that they might face in different waterways: currents in rivers are a separate challenge from an oceanic riptide, for example.
Accustom Them To Life Jackets
Life jackets, more properly known as personal flotation devices (PFDs) need to be worn by all boaters, but they are especially important on young children and teens. Go shopping for well-fitting life jackets for your kids that have head flotation and crotch straps to keep them from coming off in the water. You’ll want to test out the jackets in a shallow pool or pond before you take them on the boat to make sure they fit well and are reasonably comfortable to wear.
Attach a whistle to each child’s jacket for them to blow in the event of an emergency. Encourage all your adult passengers to also wear their life jackets to model good safety behavior to kids, too.
Children are more sensitive to temperature, need more calories to keep them sated and are more likely to get bored than adults. Anticipating these essential needs and preparing for them will help to ensure the success of any boat outing.
For the cold, pack extra layers of clothing and blankets for them to wrap up in. Get them to change out of wet clothes or swimsuits right away so that they don’t catch a chill.
For hunger, pack a cooler full of snacks and drinks. Bottled water, juice boxes, milk cartons, pudding cups, yogurt, string cheese, sandwiches and crackers are all good options for keeping kids from getting hungry and unhappy while you’re away from shore. You may want to pack some ginger or mint candies or ginger ale for any young boater who feels seasick.
Establish Safety Rules
Children should be informed of vital safety rules before they get on the boat, and you’ll want to refresh their memories for every trip. Remind them where essential supplies are stored, like the throwable life ring or first-aid kit. Tell them not to disturb the operator while the boat is in motion or to mess with the controls when no one’s looking. Forbid any running or jumping on the boat. Teach them how to call for help on a phone or radio and how to use their whistles if they see a problem, like if someone or something goes overboard.
We hope our guide has provided you with some useful tips for boating with kids! Still need the perfect family boat? Come on down to our dealership in USA, to take a look at our full selection of new and used boats for sale. Jet Ski of USA proudly serves the city of Hialeah.