One of my kid’s favorite things to do is to get out on the boat for a day of fun on the water. No matter if we are fishing, heading to the beach, or cruising, the boat is a top pick for entertainment. However, a lot goes into getting the kids ready for a day on the water. As a dad, I can tell you the routine that works best for me. If you’re taking the kids boating, here is how to get them ready. 

The Importance Of Being Prepared When Taking Kids Boating

Without a doubt it is imperative to be prepared if you’re going to be on the water with kids for the day. Remember, you’re away from the shore so you’ll want everything aboard that boat that will be needed for the day. Unfortunately, many boating adventures are cut short because of the failure to prepare properly. 

The last thing you want to have happen on a day off from work while out on the water is the need to return abruptly. 

For this reason, I suggest making a preparation checklist to stay on track and organized with each boating trip. 

Top Priorities When Taking Kids Boating

Unquestionably, there are nice to haves and need to haves when it comes to boating with kids. Here are the essential things to remember when getting ready to head out on the water. 


One of the most important things to remember is not only to pack sunscreen but to apply sunscreen before leaving the dock. 

Without question sunscreen is a necessity to prevent skin damage and pain as a result of sunburns. Furthermore, pack a waterproof sunblock so that it will remain effective when being splashed while underway or swimming in the water. 

Food And Snacks

I can tell you firsthand that my kids get cranky if they don’t have a snack option available when they are hungry. 

That being said, make sure to bring along healthy and filling snacks to keep the kids energized while out on the water. 

Lastly, when it comes to liquids, ensure that the drinks are hydrating. Your best bet is to bring along water and avoid sugar-filled drinks. 

Change Of Clothes

Packing extra clothing is a must while boating with kids. There are a multitude of reasons why a change of clothes is necessary. The reasons include spilling food or drinks, getting soaked while underway, or needing a fresh set of clothing after a swim. 

When it comes to clothes, you’re better off overpacking compared to not having enough. Remember, you can always go back home and unpack them if they go unused. 

Kids Life Jackets

For the most part, the life jackets remain on the boat. However, if you’re taking kids’ life jackets off the boat after each trip, it is essential to pack them for a day on the water. 

Importantly, an adult life vest is not a substitute because it will not fit properly. Properly fitted kids’ vests will maximize safety. 

Nice To Haves When Taking Kids Boating

Look, you want to limit the nice to haves because they will quickly fill up your boat. You want to avoid making the space aboard but jammed with accessories preventing you and the family from moving around freely. However, here are some nice things to consider. 

Water Toys

No matter if you’re pulling up to the beach or anchoring in the open water, toys and floats are nice to have. But keep in mind that water toys take up a lot of space. Some of the toys that kids enjoy most are noodles, inflatable rafts, and balls. 

Beach Chairs And Umbrellas

To maximize comfort, beach chairs and beach umbrellas are ideal when lounging at the beach. Foldable chairs save space when transporting them on the boat from the dock and to the beach. 

Bring along a few chairs and umbrellas. Without question, the umbrellas are perfect for the kids to keep them protected from the sun. Beneath the umbrella, the kids can dig in the sand or relax on a towel. 

Water Sports Gear

Depending on the age of the kids, water sports gear, including water skis, inflatable tubes, and wakeboards, can provide nonstop fun. As a young kid, I water skied on a consistent basis. 

In addition to the board, float, or ski, you’ll need to make sure you have a towline on hand in addition to an adult spotter aboard the vessel. 

Get Ready Ahead Of Time When Boating With Kids

Importantly, being ready before your day on the water begins will allow the boating trip to run more smoothly. I have gotten the kids and the gear ready countless times and, fortunately, never had to turn back. Lastly, remember to keep a close eye on children and make sure they are sitting while underway.