4 Must Haves For a Day of Boating with Young Kids

There’s no doubt that a day on a boat is a good day. Boating provides an opportunity to release stress, ignite creativity, and bond with friends and family. Bringing little kids along can add stress, though. The fear that they might have a midday meltdown is a big one. How can you ensure that the boating experience will be pleasant for the whole family? After asking our Instagram followers what their must-haves are for boating with kiddos, the top 4 things they suggested were sunscreen, snack containers, life jackets, and a good bag.


  • Sunscreen was almost a unanimous answer from our followers. No doubt about it, nothing will ruin a great day of boating (and several days after) faster than a sunburn. In another blog post, we interviewed a dermatologist, Rebekah Clifford, MD FAAD, to get the inside scoop on skin cancer prevention. She also provided insight on what to look for in a good sunscreen. You can read that full article here.
  • The Mayo Clinic and FDA agree that babies younger than 6 months should avoid wearing sunscreen, and stick to other forms of sun protection. Once they’re old enough for sunscreen, you can share yours with them. Sunscreens marketed towards children are typically not chemically different from those used by adults. They’re just packaged to appeal to children.

Spill Proof Cups and Snack Containers

  • We all know how tedious cleaning a messy boat interior can be after a trip to the lake. So, when the kids join the fun, it’s important to have high-quality snack containers and cups that can help to minimize the mess. Spill proof cups and containers are a must for boat rides. Keep the apple juice, Goldfish crackers, or whatever your snack of choice is, contained and off the interior of the boat!

Here are a few recommendations from our Instagram followers:

The Nuk Everlast 360

The Munchkin Snack Catcher

Munchkin Snack Catcher

The Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup

Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup

A U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Approved Safety Flotation Device

  • In 2019 the USCG reported 613 boating-related deaths. Of these deaths, 413 of them were not wearing life jackets (Source: CDC). A USCG-approved flotation device is not only a must have for a day on the water, it’s also the law for the little ones.
  • Many of us grew up wearing the “ever-so-stylish” bulky orange life vests. More recently, the only options available to young children were about as comfortable as wearing a straight-jacket with a neck brace. Thankfully things have come a long way since those days. Stearns Puddle Jumpers received numerous praises from our followers with families. They offer the USCG approval, comfort, style, and some even include a rash guard! Cabelas offers a wide variety of Puddle Jumper flotation devices.
Sterns Puddle Jumper flotation device

A Good Bag

  • Trust us, a good bag is a necessity. The bigger the bag, the less likely it will be that you’ll have to go back to the dock and grab things you forgot. You’ll need something big enough for towels (and maybe even a spare towel just in case!), snacks, toys, a change of clothes, flotation devices, water bottles, sunscreens, and whatever else you might need.

These were a few of the recommended bags:

Mesh Beach Bag Tote with Insulated Cooler by OdyseaCo – Large Zippered High Capacity (it even has a cooler in it!)

Mesh Beach Bag

SupMLC Mesh Beach Bag Extra Large Beach Bags and Totes

Large Mexican Handwoven Plastic Tote

Large Handwoven Mexican Plastic Tote

What other must-haves do you take on your lake trips with the kiddos? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.

All of the products mentioned in this blog are recommendations from our Instagram followers- we do not receive sponsorship or compensation from anyone for the products mentioned in this post.

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