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What you need to know to boat safely with kids

Going out with your children can be a great, fun time, but there are some important things you need to know to boat safely with kids.

These tips will be important for you and the children whether you are going on a boating trip to La Rochelle on the West of France for a few days or simply cruising the ocean for a few hours.  

Luckily, keeping the kids safe while out on the water doesn’t mean that you’ll have to give up any comfort or give up some great entertainment.

Instead, it just requires you follow a few more steps to ensure everyone’s safety.

Safety above everything

For any parent with a young child, or looking after one, they understand how difficult it can be sometime to get kids to keep their lifejackets on.

But there really is no alternative. You should ensure that the kids are wearing their lifejackets at all times, for the entire duration of the trip.

Lifejackets for young children are different in a few ways. Most obviously, they have an extra cushion in the back that provides extra protection but also keeps their head clear of water.

Besides lifejackets, it’s also important to keep have a first-aid kit and working ship-to-shore radio in case you’ll need to call the Coast Guard.

Bring the entertainment

While many adults can stay on a boat with virtually nothing except the wind and the sea, children tend to get bored pretty quickly.

If you want to boat safely with kids, you’ll have to prevent them from running around too much. In order to do that, you’ll need to keep them occupied and entertained, which is why it’s a good idea to bring some cards, games, toys, and art supplies.

You should also make sure your tablet is fully charged and pre-loaded with games or video clips in case your cellular service goes out while out on the water.

Bring more than enough food

Along with the need for entertainment, kids can get quite snacky on boating trips and will need some quick food.

For that reason, it’s always a great idea to bring plenty of snacks on board with you. You can even bring some of their favorite treats to entice them or keep them happy, especially if they’ve behaved well.

However, it’s generally not recommended that you bring too many sugary snacks and drinks with you. Having an overly-active, hyper child on boat is probably the last thing you want if you enjoy a more peaceful time on the water.

Create shade on the boat

Kids and adults all love the sun, but often the sun can be a bit too much. That’s why you should always put sunscreen on your children (and yourself) if you’ll be exposed to the sun for extended periods of time.

For that reason, it’s also crucial for the children that you find a way to create some shade on board.

This may be below deck or any covered part of the boat. Shade is quite important for kids as they can get quite fussy with being exposed to the sun for too long.

Always keep an eye out

While this is actually harder than it sounds, it’s important that you are aware of where your children are at all times.

Parents know that, when it comes to young children, some of the biggest sign of trouble is when children are quiet. It can also be a sign of something worse.

In order to avoid that and boat safely with kids, you need to make sure you know where the children are at all times. Depending on the size of the boat, this can be a relatively simple or quite complex task. Nonetheless, it’s the safest way to know that your kids are safe.

You may not have to (or may not be able to) keep an eye on them at all times, but being aware of where they are and what they’re doing is incredibly important.

Plan for fun in the water

When it’s time to hit the water, that’s when the fun really starts. You’ll love seeing your kids eyes light up as they splash around in the water or crawl around in the sand.

Don’t forget to bring along floating devices for your kids to have fun on. Buckets, spades and bath toys are also good options to help your kids have fun in the sun.

Boat safely with kids – but remember to have fun

While it is true – and worth repeating – that it can be difficult at first to boat safely with kids, it doesn’t mean the entire trip will be difficult. It may be quite easy for you.

However, the most important part, and the reason that the children are on the boat, is because you wanted to have fun and spend time with them.

So when you’re out on the boat with your young children, remember to enjoy the water and them and have a great, safe time together.

Good luck!
Bio: Nicolas Le Berre is a writer for Alternative Sailing, an online peer-to-peer boat rental company where you can hire sailing boats in La Rochelle, the Antilles, Bretagne, and other international locations.