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Author Topic:   Boating and Kids
GAwhale posted 07-29-2001 12:35 PM ET (US)   Profile for GAwhale   Send Email to GAwhale  
When we bought our Whaler, my wife said she wanted the boat to be fun for Hannah (almost four). I wholeheartedly agree.

On our typical boating day; we usually pick up some sandwiches at Subway; go to our favorite secluded cove and have a picnic; change into bathing suits; and then beach the boat at the public beach. We have a big innertube to tow behind the boat. I have towed Hannah and Mommy together in the tube (both with life preservers on, of course). However, she now acts a little apprehensive about the tube. Cruising around is okay with her, but she gets bored. Her favorite is the beach. She has her buckets, shovels, and noodle and there are other kids to mess around with. Okay by me. If she's happy, I'm happy.
At the marina where we launch there is a playground. My wife can take Hannah there while I put the boat away. A nice feature about the Montauk is that is easy to launch and retrieve single handed. Plus beaching is no problem. (try that with a ski boat)

Curious if others have had adventures (hopefully good) with kids on boats.

dgp posted 07-29-2001 02:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Try taking along one of her same age friends. If the tube is big enough have Mommy and both kids ride the tube but GO SLOW. Let them work up to faster speeds when they're ready and maybe they never will.
Try bottom fishing one day.
JohnT posted 07-30-2001 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for JohnT  Send Email to JohnT     
I have a 6 year old and almost 4 year old boys. I take them tubing and my 6 y.o. hydrosliding (he can't get up on his knees yet, but we're working on it at his pace). My kids also love to beach the boat and play on the beach or anchor and swim (playing with the tube is a favorite activity in those instances). We carry sandwiches or buy hot dogs at a favorite local hot dog shop.

When we are able to anchor and raft up with friends, we can spend several hours on the boats and only leave when we absolutely have to (e.g., darkness).

The most important thing I've found about boating with young kids to try not to force anything or go so far that if they get seriously bored or tired of riding that home is not too far away. They have much more tolerance for riding in a powerboat than in a canoe or kayak. Fishing wtih the 6 y.o. is in my plans, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I've tried it recently with both of them and unless you like lots of tangled line, I don't recommend it with the three (almost four) year old boy unless you're one- on - one.

Mike posted 07-30-2001 09:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mike  Send Email to Mike     
I bought my Striper 15 primarily for fishing.
My son was never fond of fishing. However, when a preschooler he was fond of going with me in the boat. He loved to converse, to play in the water, dissect gill-hooked fish (which were going to die anyway), and most of all to throw fish back. The first time I ever let him do this, he held the fish face to face, studied it for a moment, and kissed it on the lips before freeing it. For years after that, every fish got a kiss before he threw them back. At some point, sports and then girls became most important than floating around with the old man. Then he went away to college, and since then the call comes every spring - "Dad, I want to go fishing." One or two trips a year scratches his itch, for nostalgia's sake, I guess.

My daughter, on the other hand, was an avid fisher. One of my priceless posessions is a drawing of her and me in the boat, fishing.
She drew it when her second grade teacher told students to draw their most favorite place in the whole world.

LarrySherman posted 07-30-2001 09:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Mike, that is a great story. I have a 22 month old daughter and can't wait to take her fishing! How old was she when you first took her, and how did you capture her interest?

Thanks, Larry

hauptjm posted 07-30-2001 01:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I've got an almost two-year-old boy that has loved "his" boat since he was 1 month old. No kidding, we would put him in his car seat bucket, and within minutes he would fall into the deepest, most serene sleep you've ever seen. Now, he's the skipper. In fact, his mom and I spent 6 hours with him yesterday running around, drifting and chasing kids on Flying Scots racing here in New Orleans for the Junior Lipton Regatta. He didn't want to get off the boat at the end of the day. Kinda' like his ol' man. Now with another baby on the way, we'll probably bring him/her up the same way. I agree, let them go at their own pace and never push it on them. Before children, all I could think of was my next trip out on the water; now I fall asleep dreaming of being out with my family for a day on the water. Sounds corny, but it works for me.
bigz posted 07-30-2001 01:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Just a bit of advice from this old fellow --- aside from boating --- don't forget to get them swimming early --- the YMCA mother/father, daughter/son swim lessons starting as early as I believe 1-1/2 and continuing through at least 3 years old will instill confidence in the tikes when in and around the water. Then they can start taking more advantaged lessons on their own. This is one area sometimes we forget about when introducing them to boating and can't figure out why they aren't happy campers so to speak. Water can be scary stuff yeah know when there ain't no dry land to be seen!
Matthew posted 07-30-2001 02:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Matthew  Send Email to Matthew     
My boy Jack is 9 months and loves to go out in the Whaler. The first hour he is smiling and laughing--loving the wind in his face. Then he curls up in Mom's arms, we slow so we are just planing, and sleeps until we get back to the launch.
Can't wait until I can hook him up with a King Salmon in the sound!
Mike posted 07-30-2001 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike  Send Email to Mike     
Larry: She was 4-1/2 years old when we adopted her. (Son is adopted, also.) I didn't particularly do anything to attract her to fishing, except to take her. The first time on the water I knew I had a keeper when she fished for hours on a slow day, never asking "when can we go home?" She would hang in and fish as long and as hard as I would, which no one else in my family will do. Incidently, she also dove hunted with me, sat on a deer stand with me at 8 years old for several hours, and shoots a handgun better than I do! I speak in the past tense because now, at 20, she has other priorities, like an upcoming wedding.
where2 posted 07-30-2001 05:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Having been boating with the family since the amazing age of 6 weeks old (now 30 years old), I can say that there's alot of plusses to having taken to the water at an early age. I did the YMCA swimming lessons, the family trips to the favorite island to play on the beach all day, all of that. In high school, I got a 10' Zodiac instead of a car. Having the boat to go out in allowed me to explore everywhere, and kept me out of trouble. Not every child is of sufficient reasoning to allow some of the freedoms that I had. College was torture because I was LANDLOCKED with no boat! But, it certainly gave me the incentive to get a useful degree that I could peddle after I graduated to buy the first whaler. After the whaler came the car, then the waterfront house. In only a month, along will come the marriage to a woman who loves the water every bit as much as I do. I go boating with Dad every couple of weeks, 'cuz he lives 4 doors away, and wouldn't have it any other way. PS, the bride wants a Hunter 26' Sailboat, send donations... :)
Bigshot posted 07-30-2001 05:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
And lots of reading material. Gonna have some time to waste in that. Good luck on your marriage(boat and wife).
sport15er posted 07-30-2001 06:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for sport15er  Send Email to sport15er     
Something my kids enjoy having on board, when the fish aren't biting, is a lifting magnet. West has them for @$30, tie on 50' or so of line, and let the treasure hunting begin. Sometimes you'll actually pick something up; try around the ramps, docks, etc too.
Why they enjoy being slammed around in the tube, I'll never understand, but they keep coming back for more!
AZdave posted 07-31-2001 03:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for AZdave  Send Email to AZdave     
My girls are older now. In general, I think they are happiest with short intervals of several activities. With younger kids the size of the fish is not important. This may be your chance to fillet microscopic bluegills! The main goal is to target fish which bite every few minutes. Kids can be amazingly different. I have a cautious kid, one who is middle of the road, and a berserker who likes riding in the front no matter how hard we are pounding on wakes. I have found that I shouldn't push too hard. I creeped everybody out on a night fishing trip up one of our local reservoirs. They were happy again when we went back to the main part of the lake, and the lights of the ramps were in view. Have fun. Dave
Ben posted 07-31-2001 08:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ben  Send Email to Ben     
Can you say ice cream. My 6 and 4 year old love the boat becasue it always means ice cream. The gas dock is either 2 or 6 miles from the launch depending on which way I go. We arrive, dock the boat, the kids get out and run to the ice cream cooler. It gets me out on the lake and they have a good time as well.
hauptjm posted 07-31-2001 10:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
A poem:

We wonder why kids love the water,
Maybe its in the basics.

Sailing, fishing and swimming,
What a time is had, let's face it.

You've spent your life worrying,
O'er the rent, the groceries and children.

But for just a few hours ,
You can shave off the dours,
And truly become a kid again.

Sorry, it's the best I could do on short notice. But, I think it gets the basic message across; We're all kids on the water.

daverdla posted 07-31-2001 12:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for daverdla  Send Email to daverdla     
My seven year old son loves to drive the boat, but not where I want to go. So now, if the area, Sunset Lake, isn't crowded, I let him go wherever he wants. I control the throttle and try to keep the speed around 15-20mph. He loves turning the boat. It must look ridiculous, but the smiles are great. My nine year old daughter just likes to ride and go fast.

We're going to try beaching it for a picnic this weekend. I'm a little apprehensive about beaching so I might just drop anchor. What by the way is the technic for beaching?


Bigshot posted 07-31-2001 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Depends on depth and dropoff. I usually just beach the bow. If current is bad I will drop a rear anchor. Some Back it in and drop 2 anchors, 1 in front and rear. I have been caught by too many tides doing this. Try some different ways and see what works for you, your family, the boat, and the beach.
GAwhale posted 07-31-2001 02:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for GAwhale  Send Email to GAwhale     
I beach on a lake so it is really a piece of cake. I keep a paddle on board. The first time or two I killed the engine, trimmed it out of the water, and then paddled in. Now I am more brave. I trim the engine up. I figure that as long as it is squirting water, I'm okay. (of course I want the prop completely submerged) I get enough momentum so she will run right in.

I'll be honest my anchor is up in the attic. I always find a tree on log to tie up to. There are no tides to worry about.

Bigshot posted 07-31-2001 03:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
i personally hate using an anchor. I always try to beach without it but sometimes in a current it is not an option. You can also use a small(2.5 or 4lb)for this job. I use a 4lb on my 24' Baja for light duty. Have the 12lb under the seat, 200' of line is too much to deal with in 4' of water.
dfmcintyre posted 07-31-2001 04:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
GA -

both my kids (now 22 & 18) were in the single digit months when they were introduced to boating and our Whalers.

I'll add one point, that may have been missed....

We pretty muched stitched them into life preservers when they were young. They bitched, but soon found out that it was our way or the highway. And we ended up leaving both of them at home, (at different times) with a sitter called at last minute, when they started to get snarky about making them wear one. The thought of US having FUN on the WATER, with them sitting home really got to them, as after problem.

Had a friend who bought a higher sided boat, and commented that his wife felt it was safer for their children (who got away with no preservers, after having snits).

They couldn't answer the question about what happens when they fall out....

Happy Boating


where2 posted 07-31-2001 05:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Yup, hated my life jacket, but if I was to be on deck, it was the rule. So, there I was with my Big Orange CUB life jacket (before the days of cool kids jackets with cartoon characters on them!) Otherwise, I was confined to the cabin of the houseboat, which was equipped with child safety gates and the ever-watchful MOM. Fortunately, dad didn't toss the gates and now my niece and nephew get the same treatment on the same boat! In Florida, it's actually Law that anyone under 6 MUST wear a life jacket, unless the boat is over 26' in length. Other than the Kids fuss, I never understood why anyone would NOT do this without the law. I like the babysitter idea: talk about "Time-Out"!
daverdla posted 07-31-2001 07:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for daverdla  Send Email to daverdla     
In NJ the law requires 12 and under to wear life jackets. No arguments from the kids.
hauptjm posted 08-01-2001 09:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
In Louisiana it's 12 or under as well. In addition, when racing small craft(16 and under) we (yacht club not the law), require everyone regardless of age to wear a pfd. My 2 year-old wants me to buy a tweety-bird pfd so we'll match!!! Thank God they don't make them in my size; he can be very persuasive.
TightPenny posted 08-01-2001 05:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for TightPenny  Send Email to TightPenny     
PFD's may not be cool, but they are mandated by law here in NJ. This is the best kind of regulations, since they elliminate the arguement from the kids that you aren't wearing one, if you are not. Blame the government, after all, they generally are at fault. :)

On my Montauk, the vests are worn even by the adults whenever we head out into the ocean. They are close at hand for local runs to the clam beds, but when I am out alone, it is on. The PFD gives me something to attach the kill lanyard to.

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