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Making Kids Fall In Love With Boating

Making Kids Fall In Love With Boating

Sowing the seeds for a lifetime love of boating can be tedious. Keeping young children safe on board, and well, on board, is often difficult enough in itself, let alone worrying whether or not they are enjoying themselves.

Gold Coaster, Matthew Lloyd, believes that getting kids into boating all lies with the parents – whether it be them introducing their child to a watersports club or simply hiring a boat during the school holidays.

“You can even start things off with a visit to your local wharf or jetty. Your kids will be entertained for hours looking at the fish under the wharf and watching the boats sail by,” Matt suggests. “And if parents aren’t confident in taking control of a boat, there are heaps of charter boat options like whale- watching, fishing charters, and scenic cruises on most waterways around Australia.”

Perhaps you are new to boating and ready to take your family out on the water, or maybe you are a seasoned pro with uninterested children. Either way, here are five sure-fire tactics to cultivate a positive attitude towards boating for your kids while on board.

SET THE ATMOSPHERE

Are your children going to fall in love with boating if they are told to stay quiet, sit still and enjoy the serenity? It is unlikely. You know what will excite or energise your young ones, so make sure you bring this onto the boat. Maybe it is their favourite music, a cheerful and happy mood, a celebratory day out to reward them for their good behaviour.

It is also important to explain safety, and ensure your children feel secure and at ease in the vessel. “The key to the early experiences is safety. First impressions last, so make sure the kids feel safe, and are happy to explore the multitude of activities in their own time,” says Matt.

Local manager of Cruise Gold Coast, Mel, believes the key is to make sure their very first experience is a positive one — which sometimes means throwing them in the deep end. “When I was first introduced o boating, I didn’t know the first thing about it.” Mel recalls. “However, my first experience was a positive one — lots of learning and fun. There’s nothing quite like the feeling at the helm!”

BRING THE RIGHT THINGS ON BOARD

Stay one step ahead of impending boredom. Make sure to pack things that will keep your children entertained. Their favourite toys, colouring-in books and pencils, a board game, pool noodles, fishing rods and snorkel equipment all are a great place to start.

Matt finds that a lot of kids naturally love being on the water and learning through experience. “Take some left-over stale bread to feed the fish, perhaps a fishing rod, a bucket and spade and some water sports equipment if they are feeling adventurous,” he recommends.

Mel suggests packing inflatables, snorkels and a big imagination. “Oh, and snacks! Can’t forget those!” Mel exclaims, leading us into our next key suggestion.

PACK GREAT SNACKS

Food is the way to everyone’s heart. Is there a better way to coax your kids onboard and hype them up for a day on the water than home-baked goods?

Keep things healthy, but still delicious. Remember, this is more than just a meal; this is a form of bribery. Pasta salads, zucchini slice, corn on the cob, sandwiches, muffins, fruit kebab sticks, and energy balls all make for a great snack to pop into the esky. Remember to save the best for last, in case things go haywire.

This tactic will even work on the least boat-loving adult friends of yours.

MAKE IT SOCIAL

Bring the next playdate up a notch and invite your children’s friends on board to join in on the fun. What better way to show your child the freedom a boat provides than having your kids’ friends to play with and letting them create their own fun with their little games and fun. Bringing their friends can take the pressure off you and let you relax while they entertain themselves! It’s a win-win.

Mel finds that the turning point for people to become a boat lover is often the moment they realise the freedom a boat provides. “It’s literally like a new place on earth where you forget everything and just live in the moment,” she says. “Boating for me became my escape. The ability to discover new places, and go where many can’t go is incredibly alluring.”

TRY OUT WATER SPORTS

Stand up paddling, kayaking, tubing, wakeboarding, water-skiing — the list goes on. If your kids are a little older and ready for something slightly more adventurous, we suggest giving them more freedom and tools to create their fun through their own games and experiments.

“There are so many adventurous places that you can only get to by water. If you’re not out there having a go, you’re missing out on a lot of what our great country has to offer,” Matt states.

Whether it be taking the kids around a sandbank on a stand-up paddleboard for fifteen minutes and letting them jump off and play, or taking them for a spin on a tube or donut off the back of the boat, the key is to show your children the different activities they can enjoy with a boat.

When you boat with your family, it is important to make sure it is an enjoyable day out for each individual. Pay attention to what each person enjoys doing and try to cater for these activities over the day.

Minimise the everyday distractions of the world and focus on your family’s quality time with a day out on the boat. It is time to begin that new chapter and show your kids what boating is all about.

 

By Sophia Sorensen

 

Published in the Jan-Mar 2020 edition

 

 

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