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Boating with Groups of Kids – Tips & Activities

Getting on the water with family and friends is one of the most exciting ways to spend an afternoon in Florida, and we are lucky to be in the middle of the best season for on the water fun! When planning a boat trip, it can be overwhelming to consider small children aboard, but with a little planning and preparation you, your kids and even their friends can all have a great boat day!

If you are unsure how to manage boating with groups of kids, we are here to tell you that it CAN be done. You have to manage your expectations, as well as your calendar. Know your limitations, and plan accordingly. Luckily with a Gulfstream Boat Club membership, you have availability to an elite fleet of premium boats and our Member Services to guide you to the best boat day!

Here are a few tips for getting out on the water with multiple kids while keeping everyone entertained and safe throughout your journey.

Boating with groups of kids

Boating with Groups of Kids : Give More Responsibility

Kids want to feel included in the process and apart of the crew, so why not make the most of the extra hands on deck! When boating with groups of kids, start out by assigning them little jobs. Depending on their age and skill level, almost every kid aboard can be a helpful member of the crew! This empowers them and makes them feel as if they’ve accomplished something of the utmost importance.

In most cases, the tasks will require your supervision until your child is old enough or well-versed enough to handle things on their own. Here are some roles you can enlist the little ones to help with!

Weather Watcher 

Giving a child the responsibility to help check current and expected weather conditions is a great way to keep them engaged during your boat day. Consider having them print a forecast from before the trip, and then to watch the sky for danger signs once you’ve embarked. You can talk about types of clouds that form when severe weather is approaching, and what changing winds do to boat navigation.

Gear Captain

When boating with groups of kids, once they get a look at the boat at the dock, they’ll be all over it like sugar ants. Stowing the gear is a great way to keep them in one place while you get yourself situated. It will also give them a greater understanding of supply versus space. (So that’s why we can’t all bring four pairs of shoes.) Teaching this skill will pay dividends in time management for you after a few excursions.

Dock Master

Depending on the age of your kids aboard, being a dock master is a great task to learn responsibility and help understand how docking works. As you head in and approach the dock, one child prepares a bow line, another a stern line. With all crew members on the boat, each specialist sets up the looped end on the boat cleats and holds the lines with both hands until the vessel is where you want it at the dock. Make sure they don’t stand up or reach over the gunwale until you say it’s safe to do so; this will keep them from moving around the boat during docking and teach them the basics of using dock lines.

#MemberTip Stock Up on the Snacks!

Any parent can tell you that a hungry kid is going to be a grumpy kid. Children aren’t always great at expressing when they’re hungry or thirsty, so it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared with as many snacks and drinks as you think you might need. A good snack bag may be the key to buy a few more hours of active time keep kids entertained while boating.

Easy and Fun Snack Ideas:

  1. One word: Snacklebox! (The easiest way to transport a variety of snacks, and also make it a fun treat!)

  2. Mini marshmallow and pretzels

  3. Granola bars are always a bit hit!

  4. Dried fruit and puffed veggie straws are an easy way to sneak a healthy treat into the day.

  5. Fruit that doesn’t need to be preserved, such as apples, bananas and oranges.

  6. If you have cooler space, cheese cubes, lunch meat, and crackers for on the go lunch boxes with no clean up.

Before you head out for the day, consider getting a to go meal to enjoy on the cruise from one of our onsite Marina restaurants!

Make it a Fishing Day

Fishing is one of the most practical activities that you can do on a boat, independent of age. Just ask Member Services for a kid-sized fishing pole, and your young one will be hooked on boating in no time. It will let them feel like they are a part of the fun while creating their own fun memories for the day!

Can’t Forget the Water Toys when Boating with Groups of Kids!

Throw in some tubes, floaties, noodles, and water guns in for a little extra fun out on the water! Really want to keep kids entertained while boating? Remote control boats are also a crowd pleaser for young and adult boaters alike!

Try Out Flora and Fauna Scavenger Hunt

Do you know the difference between a horseshoe crab and a conch? Do you know what brain coral does? Do you know where to find parrot fish? Can you name all the fins on a fish? You can learn all about the fascinating and diverse plants and animals that make their home in or around our coastal waters with the help of a great field guide. No matter if you’re a local or a vacationing in South Florida, learning about the wildlife indigent to these waters will elevate your day on the water.

Here’s a great guide on some native Florida animals you may see on your cruise!

Ask Member Services for a Gulfstream Scavenger Hunt Card! They’re a great way to keep kids entertained while boating! Keep your eyes out, snap a photo, and win a prize when you return to the dock! 

Always Remember Extra Towels & Change of Clothes

Of course you’ll bring towels for swimming, but bring extra for the way back! After a day in the sun, and in and out of the water, the trip back to the dock can feel chilly on sun-kissed skin! Extra towels will give your little ones bonus comfort as you cruise back in after a memorable day.

Also, there’s nothing worse than having to sit too long in a wet swimsuit! After a fun (but often exhausting!) day out in the sun, you will definitely want a dry pair of clothes to wear home. You can even throw in a comfy pair of sweatpants and a change of undergarments so you can ride home in comfort.

Boating with groups of kids

Kid Friendly Destinations

Boating with Groups of Kids is Easy with Gulfstream Boat Club

If you’re new to boating with kids, you’re in for some fun adventures. Boating as a family is a great way to create lifelong memories and help your kids develop new skills and self-confidence. For more information on how to keep kids entertained while boating, ask our Member Services for some tips!


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