If you want to make some lasting memories with your kids this summer, take them boating! Going out on the lake or the sound or even the open ocean is a great way to enjoy time with your children while also teaching them about the world around them and expanding their horizons.
As much fun as family boating can be, it also comes with some challenges. Kids can be unpredictable and can easily become upset if their needs and wants are not addressed, just like adults can. So it’s best to do what you can ahead of time to prepare your kids for the marine life.
Tom-N-Jerry’s Boat Center, located in Mount Vernon, Washington, is your local boat dealer. We want you to have the best time possible on the water with your family, so here are our best tips for navigating the waters with your youngest mariners on board.
Your children need to know how to swim before they go out on the water with you. You can enroll them in classes even in infancy, with introductory courses that have the parent and child interact together in the pool to make it feel like a safe place. Formal lessons can be undertaken around preschool age. Kids need to know how to float, tread water, hold their breath and use basic swimming strokes to get around in case they fall into the water. Help them to understand the difference between waterways: a shallow creek will be much easier to swim around in than the ocean with its strong tides.
No kid will really want to wear a life jacket, but it’s imperative that they do so. Life jackets need to be worn by children from dock to dock, just in case they fall into the water while boarding the boat. Shop for life jackets that are fitted and comfortable with flotation headrests and crotch straps to keep them on snugly. Have kids test their life jackets in the shallow end of the local pool so you can make sure they stay on correctly and do their job.
Model good water safety by wearing your own life jacket and have other adults and teens do the same on board the boat. Kids are much more likely to do something that they see those around them do, and it’s good practice for you, too. Attach marine whistles to every child’s life jacket so they can whistle for help if they fall in the water or if they see something is wrong.
Your children are likely to become hungry, thirsty and tired much sooner than you will, and they’re going to sink into bad moods if their needs are not addressed. Pack a cooler with snacks and drinks like sandwiches, fresh fruit, juice boxes, water and string cheese. Add some crackers or granola bars, too, and have some ginger candy on-hand in case they feel nauseated. Bring bug repellent, sunscreen and a well-stocked first-aid kit with tweezers, bandages, aloe vera, painkillers and their usual medications.
Children are much more vulnerable to the cold than adults are, and even on the hottest summer day, water temperatures will be several degrees cooler than on land. Plan ahead and have plenty of extra clothes and blankets on your boat for your kids. When they come back from swimming, get them out of wet suits and into dry clothes and toweled off as quickly as possible. Wrap them in blankets so they can warm up. Bring jackets and sweaters and thick socks so that your kids can stay cozy even if the wind picks up.
Following these tips should help you and your family to have many successful marine adventures this season! If you’re still looking for a family-friendly craft, visit our dealership in Mount Vernon to check out our stock of new and used boats for sale. Tom-N-Jerry’s Boat Center proudly serves the greater Seattle metro area as well as our friends in Tacoma, Washington.