4 Safety Tips for Boating With Your Kids

While boating may have started out as a great way to enjoy the weekends with your spouse or your friends, you may not have planned for how your kids would do on your boating excursions. Can kids stay safe on boating adventures or is it better to keep it as adults only?

Rest assured that plenty of families bring their kids boating and are bringing children as young as toddlers and babies along for the fun without any issue. There is a bit more planning ahead that needs done, but you can make your boating life a family experience without feeling uneasy about the decision.

Along with getting extra lifejackets and making one part of the boat more secured for the kids, here is a look at the four safety tips you’ll need to start bringing the kids on board for a boating experience as a family.

Securing baby and the boat first

The first thing you’ll want to plan for is the kids’ lifejackets. You can’t go without these even if you plan to hold the kids during the day, because the U.S. Coast Guard recommends lifejackets are worn by everyone when the boat is underway.

Make sure everyone, even the kids and infants, have their personal flotation device, and that they fit properly. The infant lifejackets actually come with a head cushion for extra protection in the event that children are in the water.

Even if you plan to hold the kids during a day cruising the St. Johns River, make sure you’ve secured an area on the boat where the kids can be secured. Whether an emergency occurs or you just want to drop anchor, it’s important that small children can be somewhere secure so that all adults onboard have the option to perform boating tasks rather than holding the children.

Accommodating for what kids need on a regular day

Just like a day in the park or hanging out in the backyard on a Saturday, the kids need to have a place to grab some shade. Too much time in the sun is dangerous for the skin and can dehydrate and drain the kids of energy. Make sure to have umbrellas and sunscreen for the kids to stay cool on a hot Florida day.

Your kids are also going to near their regularly scheduled naptime and meals. Make sure you’ve planned for a place to grab a nap, whether it’s by packing a pack-n-play or a secured bedroom in the boat. Make sure you’ve packed snacks, formula, water, and juice for the kids to stay hydrated and nourished during many hours in the sun.

Have extra help onboard

Make sure you’ve planned for enough adults to help out with the kids during boating. It’s safest to keep a baby in your arms while the boat is in motion, which means that the more hands on deck, the better. Having extra help on board also means that more eyes can be watching for the kids safety, holding the babies, and helping in case of an emergency.

Having backup to help with the kids while everyone helps driving, navigating, anchoring, and enjoying time in the water will put your mind at ease for everyone’s safety. You may simply need some time to relax while the little ones have plenty of people to keep them safe.

Plan for all of your supplies

Lastly, make sure you’ve planned for all of the supplies you’ll need for a safe day on the water. Not only will you need plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, people, and lifejackets, but you’ll need to account for things like waterproof diapers, pacifiers, cash for refueling or to grab lunch, towels to dry off, and extra clothes. You’ll also want to pack the fun essentials, such as waterproof toys and a camera to make for a fun and safe day.

Don’t forget to also discuss with your kids the safety measures of being in the water, including the differences between open water and a pool, how to be safe from river currents or ocean undertow, to be prepared for uneven surfaces, and to stay in designated swimming areas. Then, be sure to have everyone on board certified for CPR and to avoid excessive alcohol consumption since it is the top reason for boating accidents on the water.

These are the best ways to keep a baby and kids safe during boating season this year!

Here are the newest additions to The Jacksonville Boat Club Fleet

They are the Nauticstar 23 Deck Boat and the Scout 19 Sportfish.  Both of these bring additional flexibility to an already great fleet of boats and express yachts.

Scout 187 Sportfish

The Scout is the deluxe model featuring both a live well and fish box and, with a draft of only 12”, is the perfect choice for fishing in the creeks and skinny water around the Intracoastal.  It’s recessed side walls and deep sides make it very accommodating for the near shore waters and just off the beach.  It’s also more comfortable than the normal center console with cushioned seatbacks and bow platform.  It's a pet-friendly boat, allowing you to take your furry friend with you on the water.

Nauticstar 23 Deck Boat

Those not interested in fishing will enjoy the Nauticstar 23 Deck Boat. This is not a fishing or pet-friendly boat but it is an all-purpose option for tubing, wakeboarding, and cruising. When you want to hit the water with plenty of extra room, this is the boat for you.

It's designed for taking the fun to the water with plenty of seating, a Bimini top over the center and a ski pylon for all the watersports. Lots of storage for water skis and other equipment in the deck storage hatch.

Maybe you're just looking to relax and get some sun. The front of the boat features a bow lounge perfect for laying out and working on that tan. When it's time to cool off, the storage hatch provides the perfect size for plenty of water, sports drinks, and other beverages. You can even store your life jackets and other items under the lounge area.

Both of these boats are now available for members. Take one out this weekend and discover why the Jacksonville Boat Club is the better way to enjoy the water.

Top Boating Destinations Near St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, Florida is the perfect destination for fun by the water, which makes it a boater’s paradise. Being an oceanfront city full of history as America’s oldest city, St. Augustine makes the northeastern coast of Florida a top boating destination. Along with beautiful beaches and historical sites, St. Augustine attracts boaters that want a beautiful marina to pull into as they hit the sites or enjoy activities on the water.

Take a look at the top boat destinations near St. Augustine that you’ll surely want to enjoy.

Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor

Likely considered the top boating destination in the area, Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor is a must for boaters. Here you’ll find 260 slips, access to fuel and restrooms, as well as laundry facilities, Wi-Fi, and a swimming pool.

It’s a popular choice for pet owners as its pet-friendly, and you’ll have access to fish cleaning, courtesy cars, and a lounge. It’s only two miles from the historic district and you can even rent boats or go sailing from here. You’ll love this fully protected option adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway and not even a mile away from the ocean.

Enjoying a day in the city at St. Augustine Municipal Marina

When you dock at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina, you can easily walk through the streets of the oldest city. You’ll find yourself walking along brick streets, passing charming boutiques, a variety of restaurants, and living history museums.

Take a horse and carriage ride through the historic district, tour the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, and sit by the water enjoying drinks at the Tini Martini Bar. By night, you’ll want to listen to the music at The Bar With No Name before learning more about the city in a walking ghost tour.

You’ll be blown away by the location of this marina near all of the top attractions and offering some of the most picturesque views in the area. It’s a convenient boating spot and offers everything you need from fuel to oil, ice and public restrooms, as well as a laundromat. The only downside is this marina is so popular that you’ll have to plan ahead and make a reservation. There are 96 slips available.

Conch House Marina Resort

If you want to spend the day at one of the finest marinas in the area, you can’t beat the Conch House Marina Resort. It’s a 194 slip Marina that can be found in St. Augustine’s Intracoastal waterway on Salt Run. It’s a clean, state-of-the-art marina with a ship store, swimming pool, 24-hour security, Wi-Fi, and more.

The Conch House Restaurant is the best part! Relax on a dock and under the umbrellas while enjoying the view. They are open for breakfast on weekends, and lunch and dinner every day.  They offer seafood and Caribbean style cooking, along with live music (Thursday-Sunday, only).

While Hurricane Matthew caused slight damage to the marina, everything is still intact and things will be rebuilt better than ever soon. Check them out seven days a week for award-winning seafood, fishing charters, and even lodging.  

Cat’s Paw Marina

Another perfect location in St. Augustine is Cat’s Paw Marina, just minutes from downtown. It’s the newest facility for dry storage in St. Augustine offering everything from storage to a ship store. Fuel up, take a deep sea fishing charter or river charter, or stop in to work on a DIY project. You can get repairs and completely enclosed storage here.

What better way to explore the coast than by boat? Stop by these top boating destinations near St. Augustine to get a taste of Florida’s boating scene and access to some of the top attractions in the area.