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Advice from experienced boating parents

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Old 04-20-2002, 12:58 PM
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Question Advice from experienced boating parents

I'm looking for advice from experienced boating parents. My son will be 10 months old when boating season starts. Any little ticks of the trade I should know about ? Seating ? Food ? Toys ? Diapers ?

I've been looking at the "Tugboat" a hard plastic flotation device that allows baby's to feel and experience the water with built in shade and toys.

I've got the life jacket already any other necessities ?

Thanks in advance
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Old 04-20-2002, 01:32 PM
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Shade, sunscreen, towels to keep in the cooler.

My kids can't tolerate "regular" sunscreen. They can only tolerate BabyFaces in Coppertone. Must apply it 30 mins before getting in the heat. Once they are hot, cannot reapply without chemical burning them (their pores are open when hot). Must allow cooloff time in the shade and cool towels to close the pores before reapplying. Colored zinc is all that works on their faces (the babyface stuff on the rest of their bodies).

If you have a cuddy, make sure it is well-ventilated and stocked with stuff to keep kid interested while cooling off for reapplication. If no cuddy, you will have to invest in a bimini top. Whether you like shade or not, it is criminal to keep a kid in the rays too long. I get precancerous stuff cut off me every spring from my childhood overexposure (I'm 38). They didn't know better in those days.

Be conscious of windburn on infant skin, too. Just choose a relatively wind-friendly spot for junior if you have to run hard for long periods. Obviously, aft is less bouncy, but I spent several years of happiness lying on boat cushions in the front passenger seat footwell of a 67 Correct Craft Barracuda straight inboard that was a vicious porpoiser. Loved it. Kids are durable.

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Old 04-20-2002, 01:37 PM
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It is an adjusment that's for sure! The Key is PATIENCE. But it can be alot of fun also! I don't now if you have AC or not but we didn't at the time and thought it would have made alot of difference. That's why we are getting AC on the new boat with second child due in July. Our daughter always fell asleep when she heard the sound of the motors and we were under way. She did have a hard time taking naps at the marina when it was hot and no AC. We bought a couple of the small fans with the big clips that were helpful. We did have a full bimini top which was helpful on windy, cold, rainy days and was also helpful on some of the real sunny days. We used the powdered formula with bottled water which made things alot easier on the boat. When it gets rough out plan on either staying in port or slowing down, mom will have a hard time holding onto the baby for a long period of time. We did run into one couple who had a cruiser and strap the car seat right into the boat and they said it worked great. Your definately need to think about what you would do if something happed to the boat and had to abandon ship. I know nobody likes to think about in but you need a plan. Adults have a hard time surviving in cold water and it more difficult on small children. For this reason make sure you have a good radio that's working and if you can travel with friends as often as possible. I don't want to make it sound bad, but it is and adjustment, you must have PATEINCE, and just think about the extra safety things you need to be aware of. Oh another thing is a collapsable umbrella stroller is a must. If I think of anything else, I will post again.
 
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Old 04-20-2002, 01:51 PM
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If he's going to be getting in the water, get disposable swim diapers. The regular disposable ones are fine until the hit the water. When they come out they weigh about 30 lbs and the lake level drops an inch or so. Also bring some ziplock bags to put the big diaper bombs in. Without being able to seal that up you get the combination of a hot day + really smelly diaper + small boat cockpit. 'nuf said - Bring ziplocks.

Follow the sunscreen advice. The first time your kid gets a sunburn you'll feel like sh*t, because you know it's your fault. A little suncreen goes a long way, along with a hat and sunglasses.
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Old 04-20-2002, 02:25 PM
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All the advice previously is good. When the kids get a little older a lot of snack foods are good. Teddy grahams, pretzels, friut snacks, etc. Of course little kid size waters or juices are a must for dehydration. Also a few "boat toys" will go a long way. Make sure it is something that stays on the boat, that way they will look forward to the trip. (It takes a while for them to just like the boat)
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Old 04-20-2002, 03:04 PM
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We freeze some juice boxes and add them to the cooler. Kids love Gatorade, and it's a good thing to use to keep them hydrated. Ditto on the finger foods (goldfish, teddy grahams). If you're just hanging out in the water, little buckets or anything where they pour water from one thing to another will keep them happy. Our kids like "scrubbing the swim platform" now and it keeps them busy for awhile.

The motor(s) and the movement of the boat will put them to sleep. Towels can be used as blankets or pillows, so have lots. Try to keep stuff on board like sweatshirts and jackets, so you don't have to worry if you've forgotten any. Have extra hats (adult ones work in a pinch), sunglasses and sunscreen. Bandanas are a must. They double as do-rags, bibs, and hats.

If the baby's other parent is also your helper on the boat, know that he/she will be busy with the baby and won't be able to help as easily as without the baby. Maybe bring along a friend to help out the first couple of times, especially if you trailer and launch your boat.

Don't expect everything to go as smoothly as it did without the baby. You've got a new captain now. The payoff is when you ask them "what's a boat say?" and they respond, "bruummbrummbrumm" (think low rumble, BBC) or when they point out PWC's for you.

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Old 04-20-2002, 06:16 PM
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Agreed with toys that remain on the boat.. they look forward to them.
Chocolate is tempting, but we waited til our youngest was 4 before allowing any. Must stay in the fridge or cooler anyhow.

We have no-eating rules in the cabin of the speedboat. In the cruiser we have no eating in any of the bedrooms.

Stow rolls of Brawny (or other substantial brand) paper towels at least in 5 locations on the boat.

When the child gets a bit older and you want to try him out in a tube or something, refrain from short-roping him close to the transom. Carbon Monoxide is too much up close. Babies are MUCH MORE susceptible to CO poisoning. If you don't have a CO detector, get two and put one in the cabin and another down low near the rear seat area. Idling brings exhaust in via (station-wagon effect) and it can build up near the floor. Also, gensets on nearby boats can waift it into your boat (a concern if the baby is sleeping in the cabin).

I run a diesel genset on the cruiser and am not concerned about my emissions (you'll puke from the sulfur content long before the CO levels of diesel will bother you), but if other boats are nearby with gensets, I keep my eyes out for wind direction, etc. (well, not as much as I used to since my youngest is now 9, but sometimes we still have babies visiting our group).

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Old 04-21-2002, 02:02 AM
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We had one of those floating tug-boats -- they're great. Just stay very close whenever a child is in any floating toy.

And here's a warning about water-proof sunblock lotion: They are horrible on your eyes (even the baby kind) and can cause temporary blindness. Since babies and tots are always rubbing their faces with their hands, when you are applying sunscreen try to apply it as thinly as possible on lower arms and hands - and then allow it to dry well before you turn him loose.

Also - have the baby wear a hat that has a big rim all the way around. If you can get him to wear UV protection sunglasses, that's great!

One last thing -- Apply EXTRA sun-screen on the tops of the feet, and reapply often. The spaces between the sandal straps seem to get blistered the most. Or you could buy some infant water-shoes that cover the top of the feet.

Also - some clothing has a loose weave, and allows the sun's rays to seep thru - so if you'll be outside for a long time with loose clothes, it might be wise to put the sunscreen on under the clothing too.

Enjoy!
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Old 04-21-2002, 03:21 AM
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Ya they have those cool huge umbrella style shades that tie to the sides of the boat so you do not need to put holes in your ride. We were in Florida and took a 8 month old out and he LOVED it. All he wanted to do was either look at the three motors on the back as we ripped along (outboards) or sleep.

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Old 04-22-2002, 02:24 PM
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I see there are several people experienced with taking little ones on the boat. What if any did you use for life vests? My boat is 25' and they are required to wear them.

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