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10 Tips on Boating with Kids for the Single Mom

You might have fond childhood memories of lazy summer weekends on your family’s old boat ― or you might just love boating as an adult. Whatever your inspiration, it is natural to want to enjoy boating trips with your kids. However, taking your kids on the water isn’t as easy as grab-and-go. Here are 10 ways to prepare for a boating trip with little ones in tow.


egmont key, florida
Egmont Key Florida accessible only by boat.


10 Tips on How to Have a Successful Boating Trip With Your Little Ones


Step 1: Get a Family-Friendly Boat


Just because you have a boat doesn’t mean you are ready to go out on the water with your kids. For the safety of your little ones, you absolutely must have a sound and reliable vessel with plenty of storage space. Though you might love your sailboat, it contains too many hazards to allow clumsy little ones on board. You should consider donating your old vessel to a worthy cause and purchasing a more stable boat, like a cabin cruiser or a cuddy cabin, instead. If you’re in the Miami area, check out this boat rental Miami Groupon.


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Step 2: Have Proper Safety Gear


At the very least, the Coast Guard mandates you have a whistle or bell, lights, a fire extinguisher, and personal flotation devices (PFDs) for every passenger so you will be safe on the water. However, when you have kids on board, you should go above and beyond to ensure everyone’s safety. You should also have a complete first aid kit, extra flotation devices, and a waterproof location beacon in case the worst happens.


Step 3: Excite


Though you know boating to be supremely fun, your kids probably have no experiences to get them excited for a boating trip. Fortunately, there are plenty of movies and books to inform and thrill them. You might watch “Pirates of the Caribbean” or read “Treasure Island” to engage their imaginations. However, you might avoid stories including shipwrecks or other scary on-board events, which could put little ones off.


egmont key
A great place to boat to an educate your children about conservation and wildlife.


Step 4: Educate


There is much to learn before stepping on a boat. Enrolling your little ones in boating school ― and perhaps taking a class or two yourself ― will keep everyone safer when you are on the water. Additionally, you must be certain your kids are strong swimmers before they come near the water, so a swimming course may be necessary.


gopher turtle, the little fairytale traveler
Engaging them in fun things will help them remember the experience and hold an interest.


Step 5: Engage


A universal truth of parenting is kids will get bored. Fortunately, there are plenty of responsibilities on a boat to keep little ones busy during your trip. You can teach them to use important equipment, like the navigation or radio, or you can simpler tasks, such as acting as a lookout or “helping” you steer. Such duties build character and confidence. Of course, you should also bring boat-appropriate activities, like fishing rods or towable tubes for adults for adults, for when responsibility inevitably gets boring


Step 6: Chart a Course


There is nothing worse for kids than spontaneity. Before you weigh anchor, you should have a specific course and destination in mind. Moreover, you should inform friends and family of your planned journey so they have information for the authorities should the worst occur while you are on the water.


tips on boating with kids
Get a friend to come along so you can enjoy the day too.


Step 7: Enlist Help


If you are a single parent, you will definitely need another set of grown-up hands during your boating trip. One adult cannot manage the boat and the little ones at once, so having a friend or fellow parent on board will keep kids safer and happier for the duration of the trip.


Step 8: Bring Snacks


No one understands the importance of snack time more than a parent. You probably already have a few of your kids’ favorite healthy snacks packed away. However, you shouldn’t forget that you need to eat, too, especially when you are expending calories all day on your boat. You can bring anything you want ― except alcoholic treats ― to keep you full and focused on board. Just in case, you should also bring some kid-appropriate sea sickness remedies, like ginger ale or peppermints, so your carefully planned snacks don’t end up all over the deck.


Step 9: Pack a Change of Clothing


Boating is a wet activity, and damp clothes can make kids excessively cold incredibly fast. Having a warm, dry set of clothes goes a long way to preventing hypothermia. You should also have a large, dry blanket to wrap around your little ones when they start to shiver and shake.


Florida sea shells, shells, tips on boating with kids


Step 10: Make Memories


Though it might seem that a boating trip with your little ones is more trouble than its worth, the truth is boating is unendingly rewarding, and you will never regret taking your kids on the water. Kids will recall their boating excursions for the rest of their lives, and you can aid their memories with pictures from waterproof cameras. As long as everyone is having fun, your boating trip will be a success.


Anyone can go boating these days. I mean, boats are expensive and all but you don’t have to own one to have fun. As a single mom, I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s far more practical to rent a boat, yacht charter or sailboat than it is to own one and maintain it. Plus, the time spent out on the water will be far more enjoyable when you don’t have to swab the deck after.

Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

One thought on “10 Tips on Boating with Kids for the Single Mom

  1. great boating tips when with kids. I particularly love the last tip, too. Very true. Sometimes, we get so worried and anxious about trips that we sometime forget to have fun and make the most of the moments. Great to read tips like these. Make us cautious and prepared yet excited and looking forward to spending more time with our kids.

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