Even the most seasoned boaters can experience some anxiety when boating with small children, whether it be their own or a friend’s. Boating should be fun for everyone, so we have some tips on how to reduce that anxiety:
- Safety First: The child should be in a US Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) at all times. Choose a PFD that fits snugly (don’t buy one that they will “grow into). This US Coast Guard brochure tells you how to choose the correct PFD. Have a general first aid kit on board as well as a working marine VHF radio. Keep the child inside the boat railings. We don’t recommend taking a small child on a boat without railings.
- Be Diligent: Don’t drink alcohol or become so distracted by other things that you don’t know where the child is at all times. A life jacket doesn’t prevent someone from falling overboard.
- Weather: Avoid dangerous weather and high winds. Should a squall cross your path put–and keep–the children as low in the boat as possible. Be sure you have some Dramamine on hand to reduce sea-sickness (follow package instructions). Apply and reapply sunscreen often as the sun is stronger on the water. Bring hats and protective clothing as well.
- Bring Food & Activities: More than enough food is the mindset you should have when packing snacks and lunches for little ones. Let the kids pick and choose what they want and bring some treats along for the ride. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water. Also, pack some boat-friendly activities. A child-sized fishing rod, a couple of games to play on the shore, some books and sticker activities are also great for the boat ride. If you have binoculars, bring them along as well. You and the children can take a closer look at birds and marine life.
- Enjoy Yourself: Try not to let yourself become overwhelmed with anxiety. The day should be full of fun and relaxation. Just know where your child is at all times and enjoy a beautiful day on the water.
Images & Sources: Thinkstock & sheknows.com
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