Little kids onboard

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Strecker25, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    Our son will be 1 this year (june 9th) so right in the beginning of primetime boating up north.

    He was on the boat at 3 days old, so we’re not worried about the basics, but to all who’ve brought little people onboard — any advice? Certain toys, goodies, etc? Everyone wants ideas for his birthday and boat stuff will be perfect.

    We have good life jackets for him, he’ll sleep in the aft cabin, and we have a dedicated boat baby monitor.

    Our new marina is a very short walk from
    the slip to solid land including a nearby beach, playground, pier, ice cream, and restaraunts. I grew up on my parents boat and I know that stuff was nice to have around once we starting walking/running.

    Looking forward to hearing from all the seasoned parents on what worked best with your little ones.
  2. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    Everyone loves pictures, so here’s a few.
    12F8A67A-CD9C-4FFC-8A5F-8E494A7C2E84.jpeg A6A83733-EADD-4663-918D-70A9019817F6.jpeg C3FF5E2C-2660-4E7A-B900-8606FAC02A28.jpeg
    sbw1, Todd320, importmonkey and 2 others like this.
  3. electricaldoctor

    electricaldoctor Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    May 14, 2008
    Thousand Islands, Rockport, Ontario.
    1988 390 EC
    454 Mercruiser Gassers
    Got to have the correct Sea Ray togs for sure!! Cool looking little dude you have there.
    Strecker25 likes this.
  4. Jaybeaux

    Jaybeaux Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 3, 2016
    Upper Potomac River
    420 Sundancer 2004
    Naught On Call
    Cummins 6CTA-8.3's with V-Drives
    9KW Onan Genset
    I'll give you the same advice a friend gave me when our twins were born. "Just don't drop them. You'll figure the rest out on your own". They are 21 now. You will do fine. Good looking kid you have there!

    Blueone likes this.
  5. Jeremygavin

    Jeremygavin Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 6, 2012
    Cape Cod, MA
    2011 520 Sedan Bridge
    2016 Sea Ray 19 SPX OB
    2019 Walker Bay Generation 340
    Cummins QSM11s
    Mercury 150 Fourstroke
    Honda 40hp
    We have had our 8 and 11yr on on the boat since birth and we spend almost every weekend in the summer on the boat with them. Biggest thing for us is find out what they like to do when on the boat and do more of that than anything else. When my kids were younger they loved the beach so we went to the beach as often as we could. Now then enjoy going and seeing new places and finding new areas to explore and tubing/skiing so now that is more of what we focus on. To this day they love the boat and we all look forward to the summer.
  6. importmonkey

    importmonkey Opinionated Member

    Jul 9, 2015
    Middle River, MD
    2007 44 Sundancer
    QSC 500s
    When asked for gift ideas...I always tell people my daughters cant never have enough ammo. ;)

    Snack cups that dont spill are great! But, on the boat they need gas money and shade. Mine used to sleep all the time while under way. We would always be searching for hats or sunglasses, so the more of those the better.

    Think about where you go too. Pool or beach? Toys for each are great (hint, get a large laundry garment bag for all the sand and pool toys so they stay in one place and can dry).
  7. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    We're entering our fifth season with now 8, 7 and 4 year olds. Our youngest was 6 months when we bought our first cruiser. Boating is the best family time money can buy (in my humble opinion).

    When our youngest was brand new the most important things onboard were food, drink and nap related. A one year old doesn't generally do much? Is he walking?

    If you guys are going to boat nearly every weekend my first recommendation would be to stock up on two of each of the toys your son really loves. Not hauling crap back and forth every weekend is a worthy investment. For our littlest dude we had a pack-n-play we left on the boat, plenty of things for him to fidget with and all sorts of bottles/cups. The only things that didn't stay on the boat were the beloved stuffed animals (which many parents know are not able to be duplicated nor replaced).

    For the next couple of years I bet you'll find the time on the boat is far less stressful than the time in the marina. A boat is like a big cage for a toddler. With a life jacket on they can have pretty much free roam (supervised, of course). I find docks+toddlers to require ninja levels of parenting initially. And 24/7 life jackets, sadly. Money spent on a life jacket your toddler will actually wear is also money well spent. We cycled through 3 or 4 before finding "the one".

    Good looking family too, by the way. Time to get started on #2 :)
  8. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Active Member

    Sep 12, 2009
    A good fishing pole. :)
  9. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    Thanks all! We usually stay on the boat Thursday-Monday (wife’s a teacher, I work from home/boat) so the duplicate toys advice is a great idea. We have a couple jackets already, the infant one he’ll outgrow by May and a couple other vest style and we’ll see what he likes best (or hates least).

    The jacket goes on before we leave the parking lot and stays on unless we’re tied up and he’s down below. I like the idea of associated the life jacket with fun, seemed like a good way to do it.

    We took him on a couple trips last year, a couple hours each way. I’m planning on taking him on a couple Rochester-Canada Lake Ontario crossings this year as well. The looks non-boaters give us when we tell them that are pretty funny but they don’t get it. :)
  10. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    Thanks, 410 first, then #2;)
    techmitch likes this.
  11. WV 320 Dancer

    WV 320 Dancer Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 28, 2018
    2003 Sea Ray Sundancer 320
    Twin 350 MAG - V Drive
    Being on the board of directors (I am the current CEO) at our boat club we really struggle with making sure folks have their children under the age of 12 in life jackets once they are on the dock. The CG was crushing by one of our sister docks down river from us a couple of seasons ago and noticed toddlers walking down the dock with no PFD’s on. They pulled over sited the parents and then sited the dock master on duty. Holy Crap !!
    Strecker25 likes this.
  12. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    Did you actually witness this? Sounds like a tall tale to me. I can't imagine USCG having jurisdiction of any kind on a dock? Is there a law requiring it in your area? Age 6 is the limit in Michigan and has nothing to do with anything other than being on a boat.

    We'll go another year with our 4 year old in a jacket at the docks (this year) but our older two can swim better than most adults. Particularly the ones that have been drinking all day :)

    I have to be honest...if I saw a 12 year old walking around the docks with a life jacket on I'd initially think 1.) that poor kid needs some swim lessons or (if the kid can swim) 2.) those parents need to relax. 12 seems excessive...IMO only.
  13. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    Hah. Now you're talking. Having a solid door between you and the kids is life changing!
  14. Todd320

    Todd320 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jul 21, 2016
    St. Petersburg, FL
    2007 Sea Ray 320DA
    Twin V-drive 5.7L 350 Horizon
    I was going to say, I’m pretty sure he is saying, “dad, we need a bigger boat!”, but you already have that plan.
  15. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    Here's one of my favorite photos of 3 of our 6 grandkids. We had them on the boat for a day and their favorite activity was fishing. In this photo they're watching their lure, which is only about a foot below the surface of the water, waiting for a fish to come up and
    bite on their lure. No such luck, but it kept them occupied for quite awhile.
    Todd320 and sbw1 like this.
  16. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    tiara in the snow 01.JPG Our kids started off taking lots of naps down below and playing with just a few favorite toys when awake. Later they graduated to swimming off the back of the boat with us in the water or on the swim platform. They always wore a life jacket and a tether tied to the boat. Still later swimming with supervision gradually with out the life jackets if the environment was safe and the water not too cold. Then came the remote controlled boats followed by water skiing. Then the too cool to be seen with parents phase. Now they always want to go for a boat ride when they come home to visit. Starting a new cycle with the grands.
    BStew likes this.
  17. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    IMG_3138.JPG tiara in the snow 01.JPG
    The cycle repeats.
    BStew, Todd320 and Woody like this.
  18. onthejob

    onthejob Member

    May 1, 2013
    Rochester, NY
    2003.5 Sea Ray 340 Sundancer, Raymarine A97 and Quantum radar. Hurley Davits with a Zodiac 310 Zoom
    2x 370-hp MerCruiser 8.1S Horizon with V-Drives turning 4 blade wheels
    Been there, done that. Our youngest is now 8. We've cruised each year with him since he was a new born EXCEPT when he was 1-1/2 - he was just too mobile and we were in between boats. The oldest is 14. There has never been a problem with them wearing life jackets. We've cruised all over Lake Ontario and the thousand islands.

    Top suggestions:
    1. 12 volt TV/DVD combo. Best money spent. No internet or shore power needed.
    2. Extra life jackets, like 3 per kid. One gets wet and when the small fry get out of the water they want to take it off. Put a dry one back on them. Start drying the wet in the sun
    3. Shade and 12 volt fans. Be creative here. They sleep 12 hours a day.
    4. 12v white noise machine
    5. Folding portable wagon for shore excursions. Doubles to bring provisions back to the boat.
    6. Plenty of watersports toys. Noodles, floats, etc. The relaxation station was good money spent.
    7. Find ports with beaches or sandy destinations. Kids get bored on a boat after a couple days.
    8. Cruise with other kids their age or let them bring a friend if you have the room.
    9. Have a secret surprise for them 3/4 the way through the cruise because they can burn out on day 5 or 6.
    10. Lots of water, drinks, snacks and treats in their own little cooler that I give them full access to. This keeps them out of the important coolers and fridge. Nothing red, chocolate, purple, sticky, or that melts. Keeps the Captain partially stress free.
  19. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    We had our grandkids near every weekend for years since before they could walk. Some things I felt important....while cruising I didn't put them to sleep in the cabin for fear of CO, they will fall asleep anywhere anyway while cruising, it's easier to keep an eye on them up in the cockpit.

    Learning to swim...we insisted they learn to swim, lessons started while in diapers, for the one, before she could walk.

    Rules on how things must be done, I'd assign them 'very important responsibilities' and made them part of the crew. No matter how small their task was, it worked better than telling them to sit down, shut up, and stay out of the way.

    As soon as they were tall enough I'd let them drive. We'd be 15-20mi out and I'd point to a smoke stack or hill on the horizon, that's where we're going, now hold 'er straight and watch out for other boats, and logs, and stuff. They ate that stuff up, they were part of the crew, the boat was theirs. Sorry Suzie but I can't come to your birthday party...I'm going up to the boat this weekend.:cool:

    We'd talk about what to do if's....once in awhile I'd even test them,....your sister is in the water, she's needs help what do you do? What shouldn't you do?

    Anyway, that was my approach, it seemed they accepted/learned, we all had a blast exploring Lake Superior until they got near the teenage years and discovered Gramps really ain't that cool.:(
  20. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    This thread reminds me of one other important thing to do in addition to all the other good pointers. After things settle down after an active day of boating, go through the boat and look for open, partly finished, soft drink cans that are put down in nooks and crannies. If you can remember to do this when you see a beverage being consumed, all the better. Those cans end up tipping over if the seas get rough and you forget they are out there some place. DSC00093.JPG

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