Boating is a favorite activity for families all over the world. Here in Destin, we are lucky to have miles and miles of beautiful coastline, intracoastal waterways, bays, and bayous ideal for boating. There is no better feeling than spending a day out on the water with friends and family. Make your day on the water safe, fun, and memorable with these tips for renting a boat with kids in Destin.
Keeping your kids safe on a boat-and pretty much everywhere else- is a full-time job. Before leaving the dock, take some time to make sure your kids understand that safety always comes first.
Life Jackets Are Mandatory for children under age 6: Life jackets should never be thought of as “optional” for young children. Before a child boards the boat, insist they wear a life jacket. We have a full selection of infant and kids life jackets and can help you ensure that your child’s life jacket fits correctly. In addition, if you have children (or adults!) older than 6 who cannot swim, they should also wear a life jacket at all times.
Set Some Basic Boating Rules: You have rules in your home and for riding in the car; a boat should be no exception. Kids need to understand and follow a few simple boating rules. First, children should be taught how to properly balance the boat, by keeping equal weight on both sides. Second, children should be told to keep their hands and feet inside a moving boat at all times. It is very easy for little hands and feet to get injured when they try to put them in the water. Third, never allow children to run around on a boat, or play outside the guard rails around a pontoon boat. The deck of the boat can be slippery and children can fall on deck or into the water.
Make Boating Fun
Now that we’ve discussed the all-important safety issues, it’s time to talk about having fun! To help make boating enjoyable for both you and your children, consider these tips:
Pack A Cooler: Be sure to take plenty of things to drink such as water and juice, as well as cool treats such as ice pops, yogurt cups, and fresh fruit aboard. These treats not only help to keep everyone hydrated, they are also really refreshing in hot weather. If you don’t have a cooler, there are places you can go to eat while you’re out on the boat or you can purchase food and drink from some of the floating food vendors at Crab Island.
Bring A Change of Clothes: Pack a bag containing a change of clothes for your kids. My kids enjoy playing in the water in their swimsuits, but by the end of the trip, they like to have a set of dry clothes to change into, especially for the ride home in the car.
Plan Activities: Take time to plan activities that will engage your kids while out on the water. Simple things like a snorkel and diving mask can provide hours of fun as your kids explore and collect shells and marine life, such as hermit crabs. Fishing and tubing also keep children occupied and can add excitement to your excursion, so consider bringing fishing poles and bait, or a tube for your boat rental.
The most important thing to keep in mind when boating with kids is to have a fun approach and a positive attitude. Boating can be a very valuable experience that provides plenty of learning opportunities, and exposing your children to fresh air, sunshine, and marine life will offer plenty of quality time for everyone involved. Isn’t that what vacations are for?