8 Most Common Mistakes When Boating with Children: (Parent’s Guide)

Avoiding 8 Common Boating Mistakes with Children (Parent’s Guide)

If you’re a parent, you know how exciting it is to go out on the water with your kids. The warm sun, fresh air, and rolling waves all make a fantastic time for your little ones. 

But it’s important to remember that this adventure comes with risks that every parent should be prepared for. Unfortunately, many parents make mistakes that can put their kids at risk. 

So, today, we will look at eight of the biggest boating mistakes you can make with your kids and give you some tips on avoiding them.

here are 8 Top Boating Mistakes with Children

Mistake 1: Not Checking the Weather Before Departure

Not Checking the Weather Before Departure
Photo: Mylovelyboat Team

It’s not uncommon for parents to forget to check the weather before they hit the water. Weather can greatly impact how safe and fun a boating trip is.

A bad storm or strong winds can rough the water and make it hard to steer, which can be scary for little ones. So it’s important to know the weather before going out on the water.

Moreover, sudden weather changes can also lead to unexpected situations, making it essential to keep a close eye on the forecast and have a plan in place.

Expert Tip:

Leverage technology. Use marine weather apps or websites to get accurate, real-time weather updates. Also, have contingency plans in place if the weather worsens unexpectedly.

Mistake 2: Overlooking the Importance of Safety Equipment

 Overlooking the Importance of Safety Equipment
Photo: Mylovelyboat Team

It is imperative that all water-related activities, including boating, be accompanied by appropriate safety equipment. However, some parents overlook this, especially when the waters appear calm.

This may lead children to neglect essential safety equipment like life jackets. On the other hand, clear waters can rapidly turn into turbulent waters, and in such cases, a life jacket can be the difference between a child’s life and death if they fall overboard and cannot swim.

Therefore, it is crucial for parents to prioritize safety measures and always equip their children with life jackets, regardless of the water conditions, to prevent potential tragic accidents and ensure a safe and enjoyable boating experience.

Expert Tip:

To test a life jacket’s fit, lift your child by the shoulders of the jacket. If the jacket hits their ears or chin, it’s too big.

Mistake #3: Failing to Set Rules & Responsibilities

Failing to Set Rules & Responsibilities
Photo: Mylovelyboat Team

Some parents don’t make it a point to tell their kids what they should and shouldn’t do when boating. This can be dangerous for kids, so knowing what’s safe and what’s not is important.

If kids don’t know what’s allowed and what’s not, they could run on the deck and end up in an accident. That’s why it’s important to set clear rules and ensure everyone knows what’s expected of them.

Additionally, explaining the possible consequences of not following these rules aids in emphasizing their importance. This also fosters a safety-conscious environment, encouraging kids to behave responsibly during the boat outing.

Expert Tip:

Make a visual chart of boat rules, like staying seated, and responsibilities, such as watching out for other boats. Go over the rules before you set sail.

Mistake #4: Not Educating Kids About Boat Operation

Not Educating Kids About Boat Operation
Photo: Mylovelyboat Team

One of parents’ biggest mistakes is underestimating the importance of teaching kids how to operate a boat. Not only does it help kids feel more responsible and appreciate boating, but it’s also a great safety precaution.

Knowing the ins and outs of the boat’s parts, steering systems, and basic navigational principles could save your child’s life in an emergency. This knowledge equips them with the ability to take control and steer safely back to shore in case of unforeseen incidents.

Furthermore, this foundational understanding of boating can instill a lifelong love for maritime activities, promoting a healthy, active outdoor lifestyle for children.

Expert Tip:

Set aside time for ‘learning days’ where they just learn about the boat and its operation without heading out on the water.

Mistake #5: Failing to Secure Items While Boating

Failing to Secure Items While Boating
Photo: Mylovelyboat Team

A common boating oversight parents make is not securing loose items. Unsecured items can become dangerous projectiles during sudden boat movements or in rough waters.

Toys, coolers, and even food utensils may threaten the safety of both children and adults onboard. Securing these items before departure and ensuring their proper stowage during the journey helps to reduce unnecessary risks and promotes a safer boating environment.

Establishing a pre-departure routine that securely checks and stores loose items is crucial to prevent potential injuries and ensure a stress-free boating adventure.

Expert Tip:

Before setting off, ensure all items, particularly heavy and sharp objects, are stored securely.

Mistake #6: Lack of Supervision on Board

Lack of Supervision on Board
Photo: Mylovelyboat Team

Parents’ biggest problem while out on the water is the need for proper supervision. With their inquisitive nature, young kids often find themselves in dangerous situations without realizing it.

In a boat environment, this usually means going too close to the water’s edge or engaging in dangerous activities.

Parents must always stay alert, watch out for their children, and be aware of potential dangers to prevent accidents or overboard incidents.

Expert Tip:

Designate a ‘child watch’ responsibility to adults onboard. This ensures someone is always on duty to supervise kids, enhancing overall safety.

Mistake #7: Not Keeping Hydrated & Protected

Not Keeping Hydrated & Protected
Photo: Mylovelyboat Team

One of the other common mistakes parents make during boating is not ensuring proper hydration and sun protection for their children.

Long hours on the water, under the sun, can lead to rapid dehydration and severe sunburn. If left unchecked, these conditions can escalate to exhaustion, sunstroke, or serious dehydration.

Therefore, it’s vital to offer fluids to children, apply sunblock regularly, and encourage them to wear hats and UV-protective clothing, ensuring a safe, enjoyable boating experience.

Expert Tip:

Stock up on mineral water, wear protective and light clothing, and apply sunscreen generously.

Mistake #8: Missing Regular Boat Safety Checks

Missing Regular Boat Safety Checks
Photo: Mylovelyboat Team

Failing to conduct thorough safety checks and routine maintenance on a boat is a widespread boating mistake among parents.

Overlooking the importance of assessing essential components like the engine, anchor, navigation system, and life-saving equipment can lead to unexpected malfunctions and jeopardize the safety of children on board. Make it a priority to perform regular safety inspections and address any issues immediately.

Doing so will minimize the risk of accidents and ensure a secure and enjoyable boating experience.

Expert Tip:

Have a boating safety checklist. Run through it every time before you embark. Regular maintenance can help safeguard against sudden equipment failure.


Safety should be the foundation of all your boating adventures with your children. Knowing the common mistakes and ways to avoid them, you’re geared up to handle anything, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for your entire family on the water.

Want More Tips?

Sign up for our boating guide newsletter and stay up-to-date with the latest content in your inbox weekly!


I am a freelance writer passionate about watersports and the great outdoors. I have many years of experience in the marine industry, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise with others so that they can get the most out of their boating experiences. I like fishing, kayaking, and exploring new destinations by boat whenever I have time. Contact Us: Linkedin

Kaosar Ahamed

owner and writer, mylovelyboat.com

Previous articleWhy Boating is Great for Family Bonding Activity (9 Reasons)
Next articleTop 13 Kid-Friendly Boating Snacks for Kids: A Parent’s Guide