How to Teach Kids About Boating

Ideas and Tips for Teaching Kids About Boating

Many people who purchase a boat do so with the intention of spending more quality time with their family. But if you want your kids to get the best experience possible, you need to teach them about boating fundamentals. What are the best ways to teach your kids about boating? And which approaches work best for your family?

Keep It Light (at Least at First)

When you're first starting out, try to keep the experiences as light as possible. Children don't always have long attention spans, and they don't always take the new activities right away. Because of this, don't take your kids out on an eight-hour marathon voyage the first time they ever go boating; it's usually better to take them on a few short trips first to see how they feel.

Similarly, you don't want to overwhelm your kids with information or novel activities. Focus on one thing at a time and work on building their interest and knowledge gradually.

Find a Hobby or Activity They Genuinely Love

You're going to have a much easier time getting your kids interested in boating if you can find hobbies or activities they genuinely love. This should be a simple matter since there are so many different ways to enjoy boating. Expose them to as many different activities as possible so you can appropriately gauge their interest in each. Do they seem excited at the idea of fishing and landing a big catch? Are they more excited to go as fast as possible on the water? Do they want to go swimming? Do they prefer relaxing on the back of the boat with card games?

Obviously, this may take some flexibility on your end.

Let Them Steer

Children, especially young ones, typically love to get involved in things directly whenever possible. You shouldn't let your kids drive the boat from start to finish, nor should you let them drive in questionable conditions, but you can let them steer on the open water when you have plenty of space around you. If there are no other boats or obstacles nearby, feel free to give them the wheel and let them feel like they're the captain of the ship – just be ready to take over if necessary, at a moment's notice.

Oftentimes, after having the genuine experience of driving a boat, children are more interested in all kinds of boating activities.

Teach Them Lessons with Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonic devices make it more entertaining and easier to learn about new concepts. They’re especially important for teaching your children about new topics and lessons in boating. For example, to help remember which sides port and starboard are, you can say “is there any RED PORT LEFT in the bottle”. This reminds us that port means left and is indicated by red navigation lights and buoys. And therefore, starboard is right and marked with green.

Feel free to get creative here. You can come up with your own rhymes, your own alliterative mnemonic devices, and your own songs and games to remember things.

Keep Kids Engaged with Useful Activities

Again, kids usually have limited attention spans, so it's important to keep them engaged with useful activities. If possible, get them involved in boating directly by giving them small, but important tasks, such as fetching certain equipment or helping to put on life jackets. Failing that, you can keep your kids engaged with activities that keep them intellectually stimulated. For example, you can have them practice their counting in math skills by having them calculate the number of certain features in your immediate landscape (like buoys or other boats).

Study Aquatic Life

Most kids are interested in animals. One easy way to get them more interested in boating and the open water is to help them better understand the aquatic life around them. You can teach them about the various species that live in your nearby oceans, lakes, and rivers, and potentially show them real examples of this life in action.

Look to the Sky

It's also a good idea to teach your children about different types of clouds and how cloud formations can help predict the weather. Every time you venture out to sea, you can spend time looking at the clouds, analysing their structures, and speculating about what types of abstract shapes they form. It's a simple activity, but one that keeps children entertained while teaching them something important.

Invite Friends

Most children are going to be immediately more interested in an activity if their friends are also included in it. If you feel comfortable doing so, have them invite some of their friends over to your boat – you can take the child’s parents and family members along too.

Choose a range of appropriate and interesting activities for everyone you take with you. If this group doesn't have much aquatic experience, you can keep the entertainment experience light by packing a picnic or going for a brief fishing trip.

Sign Your Kids Up for a Formal Boating Program

Another option is to sign your kids up for a formal boating program. Visit your local boating clubs and organisations to see if there are any programs intended for children. If there's a good fit for you and your family, you may be able to introduce your child to tons of new people, new concepts, and new experiences this way.

Ask Your Kids What They Want to See and Do

Finally, make sure you ask your kids what they want to see and do. If they feel like they have some autonomy and control over the activities you do, they're going to be much more engaged and excited to spend time with you. They’ll also be much more likely to develop a lifelong passion for boating.

Are you interested in a large boat with plenty of room for your entire family? Or a powerful boat that’s perfectly suited for water sports? Or something in between? We’ve got a little bit of everything, so browse our selection of new and used boats for sale today!


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