Our cuddy cabin is cozy for the kids to sleep in, and the full camper cover keeps me and my husband warm and protected at night. The camper cover is a key item that allows us to extend our season, as it encloses the entire deck area and sun pad. I like nothing better than snuggling with the family under a blanket on the bow looking at the stars. (Fewer bugs are biting in the fall – an added bonus!).
However, there definitely are some important things to keep in mind when preparing for fall boating, especially with kids. In addition to the usual items we need on board, such as food, water and clothing; ensuring that the boat is in good working order and has the necessary safety equipment, fuel and sun protection, we also think about how to keep the kids busy since we will spend more time on the boat and less time swimming.
Last year our baby girl was a curious, albeit containable 14-month-old, but this year she is a highly active (read – climber) 26-month-old. That’s a total game-changer! So keeping her occupied will be key to keeping her safe and safely on the boat.
This past summer we enjoyed exploring the water with her, and spent the majority of the day checking out the shores of local anchorages, while Miles, our 11-year-old, would swim or take the dinghy and roam around wherever he wanted. However, now that cooler weather is approaching, we need to accept the fact that we will be on the boat for the majority of the trip. I’ve thought about throwing in the towel because the idea of being stuck aboard a boat with my child who has this uncontrollable need to touch and climb on everything is quite daunting. But, learning from last year and tailoring activities to my kids’ needs, makes planning easier.
Kate’s Cold-Weather Kid-Friendly Suggestions:
- Plan to anchor where it is easy access to shore/dock if you need a quick break from the boat
- Layers – Layers – LAYERS
- Bring oversized zip-up sweatshirts or jackets for the kids so they fit over their life jackets
- Don’t skimp on cozy bedding and pillows – makes a great cuddy cabin “fort”
- Bring headlamps for play and nighttime reading
- Think of games to play on the boat (see our family favorites below!)
- I Spy – Have the kids pop their heads out of the hatch and use binoculars to spot things
- First Mate – Let them read the chart to “navigate” you to the dock
- Glow Stick Fishing – Tie glow sticks off the boat and watch the fish swim around
- Pack plenty of water bottles and juice to keep them hydrated
- Bring no-fuss foods that don’t require a thorough hand/face cleaning that chills the babes
- Thermos with hot beverages (ahem – hot chocolate) and/or soups to keep everyone warm at night.