You can create beautiful and heartwarming memories with your children that will last a lifetime when you spend a day on the water with them. Time together as a family while exploring the intracoastal water ways and our scenic coastline will be remembered forever. Spend a morning snorkeling coral reefs, an afternoon teaching your young ones how to fish, or an evening cruising along.
Earlier this year we talked about how you can prepare yourself and your children to ensure a safe day out on the water, including enrolling your children in swim lessons, competing a family boat safety course, learning CPR, setting clear rules for when everyone’s aboard the boat, always carrying a first aid kit, and of course having life jackets that are the right fit for your little ones.
When packing up for a day out on the water, we’ve got some handy tips for things to bring with you to make sure the youngest members of your crew are safe, comfortable, and entertained the whole day!
Snacks and plenty of water
Spending an entire day outside can really make you work up and appetite, so making sure to have tasty treats on board will keep the good times rolling until sunset. If you’ve got more of an action-packed day ahead of you, like swimming, snorkeling or fishing, trying bringing along a wide variety of snacks rather than a full meal, which can weight down little bellies.
Sunny days, especially when you spend them in salt water, can leave you dehydrated so bring plenty of water and even sports drinks if you’re planning for a really active day to quench your thirst and restore your electrolytes.
Sunscreen + SPF protective clothing
Having sunscreen and protective clothing on a boat is a great way to ward off sunburns. Little ones who are in and out of the water all day might enjoy a long-sleeved sun shirt much more than having to reapply sunscreen. A floppy sunhat rather than a baseball cap can keep the sun off your child’s neck, and child-size sunglasses will protect their eyes from glare off the water.
Protective clothing is great for small children who don’t want to sit still while you apply their sunscreen, and it’ll save you having to reapply it from head-to-toe when they’re in and out of the water.
Nothing puts a damper on a fun day like a sick tummy! Even if your child doesn’t get motion sickness in the car, he or she might feel differently on a boat, especially once you leave the gentle waters of the Intracoastal. Stock up on Dramamine before your trip, dose your child before climbing aboard, and keep an eye on the clock to make sure you’re giving them additional doses often enough.
A map, app or coordinates of reefs, sandbars or attractions
Boaters know the best day starts with a good plan—make sure yours includes a list of places to go and things to do with a few back-ups in case your preferred spot is busy or closed. You can check park websites for coordinates of reefs where you can snorkel, or try some of our favorite spots to throw anchor, like Peanut Island!
Pool or bath toys
If you’re stopping to play in the water, small children will definitely appreciate bath or pool toys and pool noodles or floats. Sandbars are a great place to bring toys like buckets, balls, floating animals, toy boats and more. Remember: always supervise your little ones, even in shallow waters, and make sure that beginner swimmers have a lifejacket on at all times.
More advanced swimmers will enjoy snorkels and fins (let us know if you want to use ours and we can have them already aboard when you rent your boat!) so bring sinking things they can dive for. Store all your toys in a mesh bag so they dry more easily once they’re finished playing.
A field guide to local flora and fauna
Do you know the difference between a horseshoe crab and a conch? Do you know what brain coral does? Do you know where to find parrot fish? Can you name all the fins on a fish? You can learn all about the fascinating and diverse plants and animals that make their home in or around our coastal waters with the help of a great field guide. No matter if you’re a local or a vacationing in South Florida, learning about the wildlife indigent to these waters will elevate your day on the water.
Extra towels for the trip back
Of course you’ll bring towels for swimming, but bring extra for the way back! After a day in the sun, and in and out of the water, the trip back to the dock can feel chilly on sun-kissed skin! Extra towels will give your little ones bonus comfort as you cruise back in after a memorable day.
Spending time with your family out on the water is a great way to make great and lasting memories. Take these tips into consideration and you’ll be sure to keep your kids safe and entertained the whole day!
Are you ready to book your boat for a day out on the water? Contact us today to get started.