Boating is a fun activity for the entire family but if the adults on the boat want to relax, things can get a little low-key for the kids on board. For smaller kids, you can carry Play-Doh or play games like I-Spy but your teenager is probably going to give you a big eye-roll if you suggest these activities to them. Teenagers are at a different stage in their lives and need a different approach to stay engaged on a boat voyage.

At Norfolk Marine, we have been serving boaters long enough to know a few things about making boating more fun for everyone onboard. Here we’ve listed a few things that could help keep your teenager engaged while on a family voyage. If you’re still looking for that perfect boat, come on down to our location in Norfolk, VA.

Let Them Make Some Decisions

Being a teenager is like being stuck between childhood and adulthood. With restrictions still governing most aspects of their lives, giving teenagers some decision-making opportunities can make them feel more involved and interested in what’s going on. If you’re heading across the bay for a meal, you can let them decide where to eat. If they show any interest in the navigation, ask them to help you plan a route. You can even let them take control of the stereo and curate the group’s playlist.

Ask Them to Bring Their Friends

During their teenage years, people start to form stronger bonds with friends as they assert their identity as separate from their family. Instead of them sitting on the boat and texting their friends all day, you can simply ask them to bring their friends along. This way they’ll still have their friends’ company to keep them entertained even if you decide to spend the day relaxing. It might also make the boat ride more fun because, as they say, the more the merrier!

Plan Some Engaging Activities

After the hectic daily grind, you might enjoy spending the day just looking out on the water and feeling the fresh breeze against your cheeks. That’s probably going to drive your teenager mad with boredom. Bring your laptop and a projector and host a movie night. Order pizza to the dock for lunch. Bring along board games. Blast music for a dance party. There are plenty of activities that will engage your teenager.

Host a Party for Them

A marine party can be a whole lot of fun, especially for teenagers. You can plan a party for the end of the school year or for the start of summer. You can even celebrate their birthday on the boat! There are plenty of milestones in your teen’s life that can be celebrated on the water. Just make sure you keep the safety of everyone on board as a top priority. Have enough life jackets for everyone and have a few designated lifeguards who can help anyone that falls overboard.

Let Them use Technology

Sometimes parents like to ban technology during family time. That’s almost guaranteed to land you a sullen teen. Instead, let them use technology while on the boat but only for boat-related activities. For example, they can check restaurant reviews online to decide which one to go to. They can also be the boat DJ, photographer, videographer, etc. As long as the technology is enhancing the boating experience, it can be a part of your day.

Show Them how to Drive

Many states allow teens to steer the boat as long as they are accompanied by an adult and have the proper certificates. Some states even allow sixteen-year-olds to drive on their own. Look into the laws for the area you hope to have your voyage. Teaching your teen to drive a boat can be a bonding experience that also gives them a greater sense of responsibility, while also making their boating adventure memorable!

We hope this list helps you have great boating experiences with your teens! For all your boating needs, head to Norfolk Marine and check out our vast collection of new and pre-owned boats. Whatever type of water activity you want to pursue, we have the right boat for it! We welcome all our friends from Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.