The sun is shining, which means it’s time to get outside and make the most of this beautiful weather. One of the most exciting ways to enjoy the great outdoors is with a boat. Not to mention, it makes for some unforgettable memories with family and friends. If you have children, this is also a wonderful way to expose them to new activities. They’ll love the feeling of gliding across the water, whether they’re sitting in the boat or being towed behind it in an inner tube. Keep reading for more tips on boating with kids.

If you need assistance with parts or service before your next big boating adventure, stop by Norfolk Marine. Our dealership is proud to serve Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, VA.

Set Ground Rules

The key to setting yourself up for a successful boating trip is to set ground rules. If this is the first time on the water for your kids, they need to learn basic safety rules. It’s tempting for children to roam about the boat and lean over the sides to look down at the water. As you may already know, this can be quite dangerous and lead to injuries or someone falling overboard. Therefore, all passengers should be wearing life jackets before boarding. Even if everyone knows how to swim, this is a safety precaution that’ll protect everyone in case of an emergency. To avoid slipping and falling, make sure they know that running is not allowed on the boat.

Most parents know that there’s a huge difference between teaching children the rules and actually getting them to follow the rules. One way to ensure they follow your rules is to explain the reasoning for each of them. This will help them get a better handle on the information and why it’s important.

Another strategy is to explain the rules when you’re at home before departing so you’ll have their undivided attention. All the excitement of a new environment can be too distracting for them to focus and retain the information. Review the rules at home before each trip to make sure they haven’t forgotten anything.

Bring Essential Supplies

You’ll need to pack the essential gear and supplies for your trip. As we previously mentioned, everyone will need to wear a well-fitting life jacket. When it comes to the kids, there are a few things to look for in a vest. Head flotations ensure their heads stay above water. A crotch strap prevents them from falling out of the vest. You should also look for a model with self-righting features. This keeps them swimming in the correct direction. You should test the life jacket to ensure it fits before you head out on the boat.

One way to make the planning process easier is to assemble a kit that’s stocked with supplies for boating trips with children. Items you’ll want to include are a cooler filled with snacks, ginger ale, motion sickness medication, saltine crackers, bug repellent, sunscreen, and so on. When the time comes to leave, everything will be ready to go.

Remember to Make it Fun!

Last but not least, remember to make it fun for the kids. This might seem obvious, but keep in mind that children get bored much more easily than adults do. They’re always on the hunt for non-stop entertainment, especially when they’re still fairly young.

Don’t expect a boating trip with kids to be a quiet and leisurely experience. Be proactive and plan fun activities ahead of time. Some ideas include art projects, board games, charades, and so on. Let them participate in creating the music playlist so they feel included. You can even assign them tasks around the boat that make them feel important. A bit of planning can go a long way.

If you’re still looking for the perfect boat to go on family expeditions with, visit us at Norfolk Marine! We’ve got an impressive selection of boats for sale near Norfolk, VA. We also serve those in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, VA.