Family Boating Activities
How to Keep Everyone Entertained on the Yacht
On today’s modern luxury yachts, there is no shortage of fun things to do with the family. We know you know the typical activities that keep everyone occupied, like swimming, fishing, floaties, and mealtimes. But what about the rest of the time? Especially if you’re planning on a longer boating trip?
To accompany our article on Boating with Family, here are some great entertainment suggestions to add to your list of family boating activity ideas. These suggestions work just as well for day trips as they do for longer journeys, and they are perfect for creating memories for years to come.
If your kids are old enough and your boat is big enough to store the equipment needed, try out things like water skiing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, and tubing. Some of this equipment is available for rent, so you can try each watersport without fully committing to one. Snorkeling is also something suitable for all ages and can be a fun learning opportunity.
Kayaks and Stand-up Paddleboards
Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are also available to rent from various seaside communities if you don’t already have your own. This can be a great way to get some exercise, challenge yourself in new ways, and navigate tighter channels while your boat is docked or anchored for awhile.
Raft-up with Others
If you’re comfortable enough and you spot another boater with youngsters on board, why not get to know your fellow travellers by inviting them to raft up with you? This entails tethering both boats together, either for a playdate, happy hour, or both. If things go well, you can always arrange to raft up again in the future. And if there are more than your two boats, why not raft up to multiple boats to form a full flotilla?
Head to the Beach
If everyone’s in the mood to get off the boat for awhile, head to shore to spend a few hours at the beach to enjoy a picnic, build sandcastles, fly a kite, explore the tide pools, go crabbing, collect seashells, play some badminton, or throw a ball around. Depending on where you end up, there might even be some great hiking trails nearby.
Visiting various marinas is also a fun way to get to know other boaters and learn more about your local area. If possible, pick a marina to visit that has a restaurant and an outdoor play area for the kids. The restaurant visit is often enough to land you free dock time at the marina, and the kids will love having a new playground to check out. Of course this is also a great opportunity to walk the docks and see a bunch of different boats.
Yes, you read correctly! When you’ve tried just about every other activity while out at sea, why not plan for some good old-fashioned golf on the next boating trip? You could bring your own putting green and keep it as traditional as possible, or practice your long drive by rigging something out in the water. Simply toss out a floating inner tube and practice whacking biodegradable golf balls towards your target and voila! Golf at sea.
Depending on your location, you might stumble across some waterfront locations with heritage status. Around the Pacific Northwest, there are several fishing towns and historical landmarks to check out, some of which that have an aquarium or museum nearby. Here’s your chance to turn your boating trip into a teaching moment – possibly for more than just your kids!
Hand out lists of nautical objects you’re likely to see during your trip to everyone on board and offer up a prize to the first person who spots all the items. Some ideas for your list include kayaks, sailboats, seabirds, tugboats, BC Ferries, a person fishing, floating driftwood, whales, sea lions, a houseboat – you get the idea!
Depending on the ages of those on board and the size of your vessel, you can create a small treasure hunt that takes place on your boat. It’s a little bit like the childhood game, Find the Object, only the object might be something of value that the winner gets to keep. Or, if you’ll be heading to the shore, you can even try geocaching, which has been rightly coined as the world’s largest treasure hunt.
Plan a Pirate Day
With a little bit of planning ahead, you can plan a pirate party for the kids. This would tie in nicely with the treasure hunt idea already mentioned. It would also be a great theme for a child’s birthday party. All you’ll need is a pirate’s flag to raise, costumes and accessories, and a little knowledge of speaking “pirate-ese”.
Find Some Fireworks
Throughout the summertime around the Pacific Northwest, there are a few major events that kick off or conclude with a grand display of fireworks. Viewing these types of light shows from your boat is truly a remarkable, memorable experience.
Shoot Some Hoops
Find a portable basketball hoop for your cockpit, or one that you can temporarily hook or suction onto the side of your boat temporarily to see who can score the most baskets from the water.
Install a Slide
An inflatable slide provides some easy onboard entertainment for guests of all ages, providing there is easy access for everyone to re-enter the boat after each slide. Young children will require constant adult supervision and lifejackets.
Not your average floatie, a water trampoline will turn you into the coolest boat owner around. Completely inflatable and portable, water trampolines are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles and take just 20 minutes to set up. Young children will require constant adult supervision and lifejackets.
Deck Dance Party
Get everyone dancing on your deck, including the little ones, who tend to be the best dancers on board! Teach youngsters the old classics from your hey day, and then have them show you the trending dance moves of their generation.
Build a Fort
If you have enough equipment, have the kids build a little fort on the deck using oars, floaties, lifejackets, towels, and more. They’ll stay occupied and afterwards they will have a little shelter from the elements.
Camp on the Deck
On a particularly hot, clear summer night, why not plan to sleep under the stars on your deck instead of in the cabin? Or at least encourage the kids to do so. They can sleep in the fortress they made earlier that day, or perhaps under the Bimini top if there’s room. Encourage kids to bring snacks, flashlights, and books and games with them.
Rainy Day Entertainment
When night falls, or when it’s rainy, get cozy in your cabin with nautical-themed colouring books, story books, and crafts. Discover Boating has some great boat-themed colouring pages to get your started. Also plan ahead for pirate and mermaid-themed movies, smartphone apps, card games, and board games.
Remote Control Boat
For the younger ones aboard your boat, you can’t go wrong by bringing a small remote-control boat for them to play with. This can be great if they are too cold or too tired to be in the water swimming. Even the grown-ups on board can have a lot of fun with this one.
Day to Day Operations
Lastly, try to involve children in all boating activities, including tying knots, preparing meals in the galley, steering the boat, and tidying up the cockpit. While you want to do whatever you can to make this boating vacation fun for your children, it’s important to involve your children in the day to day operations on the boat so they get the true experience. You’ll find out quickly what sorts of things interest them, whether that’s learning how to read tide charts, or knowing the ins and outs of the VHF radio.
Boating with your family can build fantastic memories for everyone involved. Don’t forget to take pictures and videos along the way! And for more boating tips from Van Isle Marina, be sure to check out the rest of our blog, including an overview of boating with pets – because they’re family too!