How to Get the Most Out of Family Boating

family on boat

It’s perfectly fine to enjoy boating by yourself or with a single close friend, but some of the best boating experiences you can have will be with your family. If done right, family boating could be an excellent opportunity for all your family members to bond with each other – and learn to enjoy the comfort and calm of the waters around you.

That said, family boating could also be a disaster, especially if you have young children who currently hate the idea of being on a boat. So, what steps can you take to get the most out of family boating?

Be Honest with Your Objectives

Try to be honest with your objectives. Some people simply want to go fishing and bringing the family along is something that they feel like they have to do. Some people want to spend time with family alone and going on a boat is just an excuse to get together. There's no right or wrong approach here, but you're going to get much more out of the experience if you're honest with what you're trying to achieve.

For example, if your goal is to spend quality time together and get to know your family better, don't pack your trip so full of activities that you never get the chance to speak to one another. And if your primary goal is catching a legendary fish and enjoying the quiet, bringing your young kids along for this particular trip may not be the best idea.

Prioritise Safety

We also need to address the importance of boating safety when you're enjoying the trip with your family. Safety is always important when on a boat, but when you add more people, some inexperienced people, and some young children, the importance of safety increases even further. Make sure you inspect your vessel for potential damage and maintenance issues before departure. It's also important to consult your boat safety checklist and make sure you have all the items and equipment you need to enjoy a safe voyage, including perfectly fitted life jackets, flashlights, a VHF radio, extra batteries, a fire extinguisher, flares, and more. It's also important to make sure you know how to use this equipment if you ever need to.

Don’t Force the Trip

This may be difficult but try not to force the trip. If your kids aren't enthused about the idea of spending the weekend on the boat, give them some time and some space. If you make boating a mandatory requirement, it's instantly going to lose some appeal. Instead, try to pitch the trip in a new context to make it more appealing. Volunteer different activity ideas until you find something that clicks.

Share Personal Stories and Experiences

In the days leading up to your trip and during the trip, make sure you share some of your personal stories and experiences. It's a great chance for you to relive some of your favourite nostalgic moments and for your family to get to know you better. Even more importantly, it's a great opportunity to help your family see the world through your eyes and develop an appreciation for boating in general.

Keep Everyone Actively Involved

That said, the family boating trip shouldn't be all about you. If you spend the entire time only talking about what you enjoy and doing the things that you like, you might run the risk of alienating your family. If you have young children, they may not tolerate sitting idly while you tell stories.

That's why it's important to keep everyone actively involved, as much as possible. Your family members are going to have more fun and feel more engaged if they're actively participating in activities and responsibilities. You can assign different tasks for each family member, introduce new activities or the different personalities on your boat, and more to accomplish this.

Learn Something New Together

You may be a master of certain activities already, such as fishing or wakeboarding, and it's important to share those activities with your family. In fact, this is one of the best ways to bond and enjoy each other’s company. But it's also a good idea to learn something new together. That way, you’ll all be starting at the same level – and you’ll have the same experience as you develop new skills. It's a great way to make new memories and build an interest together.

Recognise Individual Differences

Not everyone in your family is going to have the same opinion about boating, and they may have very different preferences and interests. This is okay. In fact, acknowledging and celebrating differences is one of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of family.

Make sure you recognise these individual differences and try to find a way to include and compensate for them. For example, if one of your kids hates the idea of fishing, but is more interested in learning how to sail, consider going on a sailing excursion instead of a fishing trip at least occasionally.

Have Backup Plans

Things don't always go the way you think on a boat. A simple change in weather, a sudden loss of interest from a young child, or other developments can also sabotage your initial vision for how the trip is going to go. That's why it's important to have several backup plans in place. What will you do if your initial strategy fails?

Enjoy the Quiet Moments

Finally, try to enjoy the quiet moments between activities. Boating gives you ample time to sit back, relax, and enjoy each other’s company alone – so take advantage of it!

Are you eager to get on the water with your family members? Or are you currently disappointed with the way your current boat has been performing? A new vessel could be exactly what you need. At TheYachtMarket, we have thousands of new and used vessels for sale all across the United States, Europe and the rest of the world – so browse our selection for inspiration today!

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