Opening Up for More Family Boating

kids family boating

The pandemic has been tough on our kids and we look forward to bringing back a sense of normalcy with some family boating this summer

As a parent of two young kids, one of the hardest parts of this pandemic has been witnessing the sacrifices our kids have had to make – remote schooling, reduced social activities and other restrictions that inhibit kids from just being kids has been tough on them. Our ability to give them back a sense of normalcy through boating has been a much-needed escape from the effects of the pandemic for our family.

Last year, there was a lot of uncertainty leading up to the 2020 boating season as we endured lockdowns and quarantines during those early spring months. At first, we did not know how the pandemic would impact our boating season, but we remained optimistic knowing how much our family needed to escape to our boat. Even on smaller 21 ft boat it would be a way to get away from it all.

Luckily, things seemed to change early in the season to allow boaters to get out on the water and people quickly realized how boating could be one of the best ways to socially distance. And boy did boating deliver. It became the escape that we all needed.

Even though the season came with some restrictions that impacted our usual boating experience, our kids had an elevated sense of gratefulness for the life they can experience on the water. We discovered new anchorages, enjoyed new watersports and savored every weekend we could get on the water before our boating season came to an end in the fall.

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Family time on the water

This year, as vaccines are rolling out and the world is opening up more every day, we are even more eager to see a return to normalcy for our boat life and the season ahead. I cannot help but think that this year – more than any other year – our kids deserve the best boating season ever.

The beginning of the boating season comes with so many expectations to fulfill. As seasonal boaters we have roughly 5-6 months to maximize time on the boat before the season comes to an unwelcomed end. Summer months can come and go quickly, and we always want to be sure the season ends with no regrets – particularly for our kids.

Even as we are easing back into “full normalcy” with the pandemic, there is a lot you can do to maximize family bonding time and make sure your boating season is safely packed full of memorable experiences.

  • New spots & anchorages
    Discover new destinations for day or overnight trips. We like our “spot”, but sometimes it can be fun to try a new cove or anchorage location. Even if it is just cruising down the river a little further, or trailering your boat to a different lake, it can be fun to drop the hook somewhere different with new scenery and water to explore.
  • Mid-week boating
    Boat trips to popular destinations on a busy Saturday may be out of your comfort zone (with or without a pandemic). Avoid the crowds by boating during the week or extend your weekend into a Monday or Tuesday. Trips to waterfront towns or anchorages that are usually busy on the weekends can be much more enjoyable during the week. Avoiding the hustle and bustle may give you a chance to do more activities and unwind with the family. Every weekend can be like a vacation on your boat, and there’s no better way to use summer vacation days!
  • On-water activities
    There are lots of things you can enjoy as a family on a boat – whether its paddle boarding, kayaking, tubing or fishing. Each year we try to expand our on-water activities to include new water toys, watersports or things we can do while out on the boat. We also try to introduce new boating skills each year – like assisting with the lines or navigation. Think about what new activities you can add to your boating mix this year for your kids.

Our family’s “sense of normalcy” is being back on the boat, and we intend to make the most of the summer. We continue to feel fortunate that we have boating as a shared passion to bring us closer as a family and look forward to making even more memories on the water this season.

Lakeland boatingThis article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of Lakeland Boating  magazine. As a boater with two boat kids I am thrilled to share my experiences in a summer Boating with Kids column for the regional boating magazine Lakeland Boating.

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Diane Seltzer

View posts by Diane Seltzer
Diane is the founder of as well as the boating lifestyle site Active in the boating industry, Diane has also led the marketing for multiple recreational boating businesses and startups and is the author of the children's book The Amazing Adventures of Boat Girl.
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