7 Things to Teach Your Kids About Boating Before Hitting the Water

Boating is family affair, which means it's fun for all ages (be sure to check out the Best Boats for Families)! It's never too early to pass along your love for the boating lifestyle to your kiddos, but before leaving the dock, there are a few things consider. Take some time to impart some key lessons about boats and safety, even before stepping onboard.

teaching your kids about boating

To get you started, here are seven things to teach your kids about boating prior to hitting the water.

How to Get Your Family Excited About Boating


1. Safety Comes First

Just as seatbelts keep everyone safe in the car, life jackets (also know as PFDs) save lives on the water. Teach your kids to buckle up; it’s the law. Also make sure any life jackets you used last year still fit properly. If they’re too small, see if local officials or a boating organization will accept them as donations, for loaner programs.

Explore our Complete Boating Safety Guide


2. Reds and Greens Guide Your Way

Speaking of safety, inform your kids about the meanings of red and green aids to navigation. Before long, they’ll have “red right return” committed to memory.

Navigation Buoys and Channel Markers 101: What Do the Red & Green Markers Indicate?

kids learn to navigate a boat


3. Charting a Course is Cool

Pull out the ol’ paper or electronic charts and plan a trip together. It’s a great way not only to get your kids more involved, but also to teach them about how far your boat can go. Additionally, you can teach them to set the waypoints on your marine GPS.

How to Navigate a Boat


4. Reading Clouds is Essential

Cloud formations tell us just as much, if not more than, the TV weather forecasters. Turn identifying the different types of clouds, and whether they signal caution, into a game.

Weather Safety for Boaters


kids learning watersports

5. Watersports Are Wonderful

Here at Discover Boating, we have countless how-to articles: how to wakesurf, how to waterski, how to wakeboard, you name it. Read the articles together and see what sparks your interest. If something seems too advanced to tackle on your own, ask a friend or family member for advice, or research additional tips on YouTube.

Our best advice would be to start with tubing, then kneeboarding, and work your way up to the more advanced watersports.

Explore All Watersports


6. Fishing is Fun

Countless fishing fanatics first learned to cast in their backyards as kids, aiming at soda cans or other common household items. Find out which fish frequent your local waters. Print images for your little ones to color. Have your older kids educate your family about keepers vs. ones to throw back.

Planning a Fishing Trip with Kids


7. Being on the Water is Calming

Especially in these days of stressful upheaval to our regular lives, teach your kids that the sense of peace and calm that comes with being on the water is second to none.

The Science is Clear: Boating is Good for Your Health & Mind

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