With one study claiming that families spend just 37 minutes of quality time together each day, it’s often vacations that are the saving grace; that perfect chance to put aside work, school and other commitments and truly enjoy each other’s company. It can sometimes be tricky to encourage older kids to join in the fun, but with a little creative thinking you can come up with adventures they don’t want to miss out on. A boating holiday is one such opportunity.
Your first priority is likely to be safety, particularly with a family on board. The US Coast Guard offers advice for recreational boaters that is a really useful place to start. Make sure you have your insurance in place, and if you have less confident swimmers in your party, look into whether they can do a refresher course at your local pool and run through safety basics so that they can feel confident too. Whether your boat is new or previously owned, ensure that it has been recently serviced, has new life jackets in the necessary sizes, and is in generally good working order.
Next stop: adventure!
Now comes the really fun part; planning your adventure together. Find a map and try to involve everyone in the process. Younger children might be inspired by books or films they love; older teens might have always fancied visiting a particular area (particularly if it’s Instagrammable) or trying a local cuisine. Island hopping can be great fun, as can diving or snorkelling together.
Putting the wind back in your sails
One of the huge benefits of boating is the opportunities it brings to relax and unwind. At a time when nearly a third of those aged 13-18 will experience an anxiety disorder, this can be a really important factor in vacation planning for you and your family. Providing all the necessary safety precautions have been taken, being on and around water can be calming and restorative; as well as being a great excuse for a digital detox. You’ll also see your children flourish as they learn new skills and grow in confidence.
Finally, think about ways to store your memories so you and your family can revisit them when you like. Polaroids are a fun way to snap the moment, or why not start a diary or ‘Captain’s Log’; you could even make it a Vlog! Packing Go-Pros or equivalents is a great way to capture diving experiences, and can be a fun and educational project to edit when you get home.
For an unusual adventure that the whole family can enjoy, boating has a lot to offer. Get your safety basics in place and then have fun dreaming up the perfect trip. From easing anxieties to instilling confidence and creating wonderful memories, this is one vacation that’s bound to float everyone’s boat.