With the weather across the country finally—finally!—warming up, many of our thoughts are turning to boating. Furthermore, with many of you having been cooped up at home, you and your kids are probably all the more eager to get outside and get moving. The good news is, all across the entire country, state lockdowns imposed due to COVID-19 that prohibited recreational boating are now lifted. Before rushing to the marina, though, you might consider taking some time to impart some key lessons about boats to your kids.
To get you started, here are seven things to teach your kids about boating before you hit the water.
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.
Understanding Boating Right of Way Rules
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.
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.
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.
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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