Boating is completely possible with babies, as long as proper safety precautions are taken. While boating doesn’t have to end when a baby is born, some things will definitely have to change. This includes child-proofing the boat, heading out during less-busy times of the day, and embracing baby-friendly activities. Once these things are considered, you’re free to enjoy a sunny day on the water!

When can a baby safely boat?
Your baby should be at least 18 pounds (generally between the ages of 4 months and 11 months) and able to wear a life jacket. This means a properly fitted life jacket that’s intended for children under 30 pounds and includes a flotation feature that can support a baby’s head. It’s important that your baby can hold their head up on their own before their first boating adventure, to avoid head/neck injuries from bumpy water. 

How can you keep your baby safe?
It might seem like a good idea to bring your baby’s car seat onto the boat, but that’s actually a hazard. The best way to keep your baby safe is to hold them in your arms.

Do you have shade on your boat and a safe area for them to rest?
Because most people enjoy boating when it’s warm outside, you must have a shaded area to protect your baby from direct sunlight and intense heat. This is because babies are unable to regulate their temperature when young. Even as babies age, having shade is important because they have such fragile skin and can become ill from too much sun exposure. In addition to shade, it’s imperative to have a space where the baby can safely rest or play. This is because you can’t hold a baby while dropping an anchor or trying to dock. If eyes can’t be on the baby, they need a safe space to rest. 

Do you have planned breaks?
To keep your baby from becoming restless, plan breaks to keep the day moving smoothly. You can easily take a break by stopping to anchor and allowing your baby to play in the water (in an approved float or inntertube). This will get some energy out of the baby and help them nap for part of the day. 

Are you prepared for naptime?
If your baby is in the habit of napping at a certain time each day, make sure you allow them to nap onboard to keep them on schedule. Consider bringing a Pack ‘N Play to help your baby sleep peacefully.