The Ultimate Guide to Taking a 2-Year-Old on a Boating Trip


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Boating is a fun and exciting experience for people of all ages. Watching the water ripple beneath your boat, enjoying the sun, and disconnecting from everyday life is something that everyone can enjoy.

Now, imagine doing all that with your 2-year-old toddler. That’s right – boating can be an excellent activity for kids, even those as young as two.

This comprehensive guide looks at what it takes to take a 2-year-old on a boating trip, from planning and preparation to safety tips and fun activities.

When Is the Best Time to Take a 2-Year-Old on a Boating Adventure?

Choosing the perfect time for a boating adventure with your 2-year-old can be daunting. The best time would usually be during their most active periods. 

Closely watching your child’s daily patterns helps guide the scheduling, ensuring the trip is enjoyable. The period shortly after nap time, when the child is well-rested, can be considered. For climate and weather considerations, mild and sunny mornings or late afternoons during summer are ideal. 

Always remember to check the day’s weather forecast to avoid unforeseen circumstances. Early planning allows more time to prepare and pack all necessary safety equipment.

The Ultimate Guide to Taking a 2-Year-Old on a Boating Trip

1 – Benefits of Boating with a 2-Year-Old

photo:mylovelyboat team

Before we dive into the details of taking your toddler on a boating trip, let’s first consider why you should do it in the first place. Here are some of the key benefits of boating with a 2-year-old child:

Quality Time

  • Taking your 2-year-old on a boating trip offers a chance to bond and connect with them in a unique environment. The lack of distractions and beautiful surroundings will facilitate quality time and memorable experiences.

Sensory Experience

  • Boating presents toddlers with new and exciting experiences. The water, wind, and sun all offer sensory interactions, which are great for developing cognitive and emotional skills.

Builds Confidence

  • Little trips like this help children build their courage and Confidence, increasing their independence and self-assuredness.

Family Fun

  • Boating with your 2-year-old child can be a fun family activity. It is a great way to escape the stresses of everyday life and create beautiful memories together.

2 – Selecting the Right Boat

photo:mylovelyboat team

Selecting the right boat for your boating trip is crucial when taking a 2-year-old on board. Here are some key factors to consider:

Size and Stability

When choosing a boat, opt for one that is spacious enough to accommodate your child, your family, and any necessary gear. The boat should also be stable enough to provide your little one with a safe and secure environment. Choose a boat with a wide beam and a stable hull, such as a pontoon or a deck boat.

Child-Friendly Features

Consider features such as an enclosed cabin, grab rails, and non-slip surfaces to ensure your child’s safety on board. If you’re renting a boat, ask if they provide child safety equipment, like life jackets.

Child-Friendly Boat

Here are five boats that are known for being great choices for families with children:

  • Pontoon Boats: Pontoon boats offer plenty of space for kids to move around and play safely.
  • Deck Boats: Deck boats have an open layout designed for easy access in and out of the water.
  • Cuddy Cabin Boats: These boats have a small cabin below deck where children can nap or take a break from the sun.
  • Bowrider Boats: Bowrider boats have a spacious seating area in the bow, perfect for kids to relax and enjoy the ride.
  • Jet Boats: Jet boats have no external propellers, making them safer around children swimming in the water.

These boats provide families with the comfort, space, and safety features to ensure a fun boating experience with their children.

3 – Preparing for the Trip

photo:mylovelyboat team

Checking Weather Conditions and Water Safety Guidelines

Before setting out on your boating trip, it’s essential to check the weather forecast and familiarize yourself with local water safety guidelines. 

Look for any potential hazards, such as strong currents or sudden weather changes that could impact your Trip. If the weather conditions are unfavorable, consider postponing your Trip to ensure the safety and comfort of your child.

Choosing the Right Type of Boat and Equipment

Select a boat suitable for your child’s age and size and the activities you plan to engage in during your Trip. A stable and spacious boat, such as a pontoon boat, is ideal for families with young children. 

Ensure the boat has age-appropriate safety features, such as non-slip surfaces and secure railings.

In addition to the boat, you’ll need to gather essential equipment for your Trip, including:

Packing Essential Items and Safety Gear

When packing for your boating trip, consider the following essential items to ensure your child’s safety and comfort:

4 – Plan the Trip with Child-Friendly Destinations

Preparing for the Trip 2
photo:mylovelyboat team

Boating with a 2-year-old can be a lot of fun, but planning your Trip with safe and enjoyable destinations is important for your child. Here are some factors to consider:

Calm Waters

  • Choose destinations with calm waters, minimal wakes, and low boat traffic. This will help ensure that your child feels safe on the water.

Shallow Depths

  • Remember that your child is still very young and may not be used to swimming in deep waters. Choose shallow depths destinations so your child can stand up in the water.


  • Make sure that the destinations you choose have facilities like bathrooms, playgrounds, and areas for rest. This will help keep your child comfortable when you need to take

Child-Friendly Destinations

Here are five child-friendly boating destinations to consider:

  • Lake Powell, Arizona, and Utah: With its calm waters and breathtaking scenery, Lake Powell offers plenty of opportunities for boating and exploring.
  • San Juan Islands, Washington: These picturesque islands provide a serene environment for boating, with lots of wildlife and beautiful landscapes to discover.
  • Gulf Shores, Alabama: Known for its white sandy beaches and warm waters, Gulf Shores is an excellent destination for boating and family-friendly activities.
  • Lake Placid, New York: Surrounded by the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid offers a peaceful setting for boating and enjoying nature.
  • Lake Chelan, Washington: This pristine lake is perfect for family boating trips, with crystal clear waters and a wide range of recreational activities.

4 – Safety Measures

photo:mylovelyboat team

Providing Proper Life Jackets and Floatation Devices for the Child

Ensure your child always wears a properly fitting life jacket while on the boat. The life jacket should be snug but not too tight, with a head support and crotch strap to keep it securely in place. Remember to check the life jacket’s buoyancy and adjust it as needed.

Setting Boundaries and Rules for the Child’s Behavior on the Boat

Establish clear rules for your child’s behaviour on the boat, such as staying seated while the boat is in motion and not climbing on railings or furniture. Explain the importance of following these rules to ensure their safety. Encourage your child to ask for help if they need assistance or want to move around the boat.

Ensuring Adult Supervision at All Times

  • An adult should always supervise your child while on the boat. Designate one adult as the primary caregiver to watch your child while the other adult focuses on operating the boat. This arrangement allows for better communication and a safer environment for your child.

5 – Keeping the Child Entertained

Keeping the Child Entertained
photo:mylovelyboat team

Providing Age-Appropriate Activities and Toys

Bring various age-appropriate toys and activities to entertain your child during the Trip. Some ideas include:

Encouraging Interaction with the Natural Environment

Use the boating trip to introduce your child to the natural environment. Please encourage them to observe and interact with the water, wildlife, and surroundings. Some activities to consider include:

  • Feeding ducks or fish (with appropriate food)
  • Searching for shells or rocks along the shoreline
  • Watching birds or other wildlife

Planning Breaks for Rest and Meals

Schedule regular breaks for rest, snacks, and meals during your boating trip. This will help prevent your child from becoming overtired or hungry, which can lead to crankiness and meltdowns. Choose a quiet, shaded spot for breaks, and encourage your child to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

6 – Dealing with Emergencies

Having an Emergency Plan in Case of Accidents or Unexpected Situations

Before embarking on your Trip, create an emergency plan outlining the steps to take in an accident or unexpected situation. This plan should include:

  • Emergency contact numbers, such as the local coast guard or Marine patrol
  • The location of the nearest hospital or medical facility
  • A designated meeting spot in case of separation

Review this plan with all adults on the boat and ensure everyone knows their role in an emergency.

Knowing How to Perform CPR and Basic First Aid

At least one adult on the boat must be trained in CPR and basic first aid. This knowledge can be lifesaving in the event of an emergency. If you still need to be trained, take a CPR and first aid course before your Trip.


Is it safe to take a 2-year-old on a boating trip?

Yes, it is safe as long as you take appropriate precautions which include having correct safety gear like lifejackets and first aid kits, and ensuring adult supervision at all times.

What is the best time of day for the boating trip?

The best time of day would usually be during the child’s most active periods, typically shortly after their nap-time when they are well-rested.

What should I pack for a 2-year-old on a boating trip?

Ensure to pack plenty of water, snacks, sun hats, sunscreen, spare clothes, and life jackets.

Do they make lifejackets for 2-year-olds?

Yes, life jackets are made in multiple sizes, including for toddlers. Make sure to purchase one that fits your child properly.

How should I protect my 2-year-old from the sun during the trip?

Consider applying sunscreen on your child and having them wear a sun hat. Also, try to plan the trip for times when the sun is not at its peak.

What if my 2-year-old becomes restless during the trip?

Pack their favorite toys or storybooks to keep them occupied and plan for short breaks during the trip for snacks or play time.

What safety measures should be taken during the trip?

Children should always be supervised and should have life jackets on at all times during the trip.

How long should the boating trip last?

The length of the boating trip should be according to the child’s comfort and tolerance level. Generally, short trips are more appropriate for 2-year-olds.


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,

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