Bonding on the Boat
January 13, 2018
Spring is just 48 days away! We can't wait until it's warm enough to get the boat back in the water, and we're already thinking of ways to spend our boating time with our families. From maintenance chores to the thrill of wakeboarding, boat ownership offers lots of opportunities for kids of all ages to participate in the boating life. [caption id="attachment_647" align="aligncenter" width="450"] discoverboating.com[/caption] Cleaning crew. Though they might groan about it, getting kids involved in boat maintenance is a way to help them take pride in the family boat. Washing down the boat is fun, and gives lots of chances for spraying each other with the hose. It's also satisfying to see the dirt come away under the deck brush. Some members of the Skipper's crew remember helping to apply wax to the boat or handing tools to Dad while he worked. If you can work some pirate or (clean) sailor lingo into your instructions, even better. [caption id="attachment_648" align="aligncenter" width="460"] capeandislandsgolf.com[/caption] Diving for treasure. This is a way to combine swimming with another sport like baseball or golf. Throw or hit brightly-colored balls off the boat and have the kids go after them. This one's for strong swimmers only, if you try it in water more than a couple of feet deep. Little kids can have fun hunting for golf balls or small toys in the shallows. If the only water you have nearby is a swimming pool, you can toss shiny coins like quarters into the water for a real aquatic treasure hunt. [caption id="attachment_649" align="aligncenter" width="488"] Jim Gallop[/caption] Fishing. Find another kind of treasure when you fish off the boat. Catch and release fishing teaches respect for nature and lets children see up close what kinds of fish are in their lake. If you decide to fish for keeps, clean your catch at the dock (or on board, if your boat is set up for it) and cook a shore lunch on a grill or a portable gas stove. Tubing. A very popular water sport that almost anyone can enjoy, riding on a tube, ski-bob, or other inflatable is the essence of summer fun. You don't need a special towing pylon on your boat, but some boaters prefer the security they offer. If in doubt, check with your boat's manufacturer to learn if there's a ski pylon made especially for your model. [caption id="attachment_652" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Larson Boats[/caption] Waterskiing. Not so easy as tubing but even more exciting, waterskiing is a perennial favorite for boaters young and young at heart. Choose a tow rope with a floating handle for ease in getting back up after a wipeout. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned skier, always wear a properly-fitted life jacket. [caption id="attachment_653" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Larson Boats[/caption] Wakeboarding. Kits like this one from RAVE Sports make it easy for people of all ages to learn how to wakeboard. Some boat companies now make boats equipped with ballast bags to help produce a lively wake for maximum wakeboarding excitement; ballast can be added to other powerboats, too. Just be sure to wear your life vest when you're 'boarding! What are your favorite family boat activities? Tell us about them on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.