Boating with Kids

Boats are a perfect vessel for making great family memories! Kids of all ages can enjoy time out on the water, but there are a few strategic ways to help keep the excursion smooth and fun for everyone. Below, we cover our favorite tactics for boating with kids. If you want more boating tips or want to look at boats for sale, visit Norfolk Marine. We are located in Norfolk, Virginia, and proudly serve those in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach as well.

Create Safety Rules

The most important part of boating is safety. While it’s unlikely that an accident or incident is going to happen, it’s important to put preventative rules in place. We suggest the following as a good starting point:

  • Everyone needs to put on their life jacket before getting on the boat and keep them on until they leave the boat. It’s unlikely, but a child could fall into the water while attempting to get into or out of the boat. They’ll appreciate the extra floatation assistance when trying to get back on land! Adults should follow this rule as well, in order to set a good example.

  • Everyone needs to keep their hands and legs inside the boat at all times.

  • No leaning over the side of the boat.

  • No running on the boat.

Once you’ve got your list of safety rules, the next step is to teach them to your kids. Young kids might need more than a one time sharing of the rules. It helps to spend a few minutes before the first few boat rides going over all the rules. Sharing the “why” behind the rule can make a rule easier to remember.

Pack Up Supplies

A safe and comfortable boat ride requires some key supplies. For example, every passenger on board needs a life jacket. A child’s jacket needs to have three things. First, head flotation to help keep their heads above water. Second, a crotch strap to help keep them from falling out of the jacket. Third, a self-righting capability to keep them swimming in the right direction. Make sure to test the jackets first to ensure they fit right and work well.

You’ll also want to pack a first-aid kit. This prepares you to deal with minor health issues that can happen out on the water. Make sure to add tweezers to pull out dock splinters and waterproof bandages.

You can also bring some other items to make the boat trip even better, such as:

  • A cooler full of delicious snacks

  • Dramamine, 7-Up, or saltine crackers to help soothe seasickness

  • Bug repellent

  • A change of clothes in case anyone’s clothing gets wet

  • A music playlist, with contributions from the kids

Keep the Boat Ride Fun

Kids may not love lounging and relaxing on the boat as much as parents do. Their short attention spans can make it harder for them to enjoy the boat ride if there are no activities. There are a few ways you can keep the ride engaging for them too.

Try packing along games and toys, such as ocean-themed coloring books. Lead rounds of I Spy, 20 Questions, or the Alphabet Game. Give them tasks such as pulling the bumpers up, holding the flag for tubers, and so on. Let them pick a fun destination on the ride, such as stopping for ice cream!

We hope you found these tips helpful. If you are looking to buy a boat, visit Norfolk Marine. Our friendly staff can help you find the perfect one for your budget and lifestyle. We are located in Norfolk, Vermont. We also proudly serve those in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Vermont.