Whether you’re a legendary fisherman, a passionate wakeboarder, or just someone who likes the calm tranquility of the ocean, chances are, you’ll want to share your boating experiences with the rest of your family. Taking a family boat trip can be an incredible, memorable bonding experience – and one that can bring all of you closer together.
So what does it take to get the most out of your next family boat trip? How do you keep everyone safe, engaged, and happy?
First off, safety needs to be your highest priority. Your family boat trip isn’t going to be enjoyable, and it might even become tragic if you’re not prepared.
These are some of the most important moves you’ll need to make:
· Bring floatation devices. Lifejackets and/or inflatable life vests are non-negotiable inclusions for your boating adventure. Every member of your family should have a personal flotation device that appropriately fits them, and you should test and inspect those devices to make sure they’re working as intended. Additionally, you should make sure that everyone is wearing a lifejacket or life vest at all times, and especially when the boat is in motion.
· Pack emergency supplies. Bring along plenty of emergency supplies; you never know when you might need them. An emergency repair kit can help you handle small boat issues that arise, and a first aid kit can help you treat injuries or keep people alive until help arrives.
· Test your communication options. Always have plenty of communication options in case you need to signal an emergency. Bring extra batteries, a VHF radio that you know how to operate, and a handful of flares at minimum.
· Inspect the vessel. Before heading out on your journey, take the time to inspect your vessel. This is your opportunity to look for worn or broken parts that could interfere with your vessel’s operation or lead to a dangerous situation. It’s always better to practice proactive maintenance than to deal with reactive repairs.
If you haven’t already, it’s also a good idea to take a boat safety course. Even if you’re familiar with how to operate a boat and host a crew responsibly, these extra lessons can be indispensable to you.
Related Read: Things That Will Make Your Boating Trip Better
Take a Vote on Destinations and Activities
You may have some preferences on where you go and what you do, but your family will enjoy the experience more if you put at least some of these ideas to a vote. But your spouse, kids, and other guests voice their opinions and make suggestions for what to do.
Keep a Relaxed Schedule
Planning and scheduling can help you make the most out of every day, leading you to interesting new destinations while maximizing the value of the time you spend. However, it’s also important to keep your schedule somewhat relaxed. If you’re constantly rushing from activity to activity, your fun vacation can quickly become stressful.
Try Something New
There’s no shortage of fun things you can do on (or near) a boat. You can go fishing, swimming, wakeboarding, jet skiing, cruising, or any number of other activities. Chances are, if you’ve been boating for a while, you have a short list of favorite activities. But this is also your chance to try something new; do something as a family you’ve never done before.
Make Downtime More Enjoyable
If your kids are young, stretches of downtime on the boat could leave them feeling bored and irritable. Trying to make the downtime more enjoyable with activities like the following:
· Listen to the radio. Bring along a radio and listen to some of your favorite music – or a live broadcast of a sports game.
· Play a game. There are countless games you can play on the back of a boat, from classic card games to engage in guessing games.
· Engage in interesting conversations. Take advantage of the downtime by starting thoughtful conversations. Get to know your family members better!
Spend Time Off the Boat
Even the most passionate boating enthusiasts can get sick of the water after spending too much time on it. Accordingly, you should plan to spend at least some of your time off the boat. Find a place on land where you can grab a bite to eat and let the kids play for a while.
Stay Clean and Organized
It’s tough to stay organized on a boat, especially if you have your entire family with you. It’s much easier if you remain proactive, keeping everything organized from the beginning and cleaning as you go. Recruit everyone to play their part, taking care of small tasks and personal belongings, so the boat never becomes chaotic and disorganized.
Capture the Moment
Finally, take the time to capture individual moments. Take photos and videos throughout the trip, and make sure you capture some moments of all of you together. You don’t want to miss out on enjoying the present by constantly whipping out your smartphone, but it’s also important to have some artifacts you can use to remember the journey.
If you love your family, and you love boating, a family boat trip could be the perfect way to enjoy the best of both worlds. With proper planning and a few extra accommodations, you’ll get even more value out of the experience.