Boating Safety

Tips for Keeping Your Baby Safe on a Boat

Do you have a baby on board? When you love spending time on the water, you often want to share it with those who matter most. And while boating with a baby might pose some challenges, we promise it’s well worth it. 

To ensure your excursion is fun and stress-free, this post reveals nine tips for keeping your baby safe on a boat: 

How to Safely Boat with an Infant

kid life jacket

Life jacket is a must have

1. Bring an Infant Life Jacket

Like the rest of your passengers, your baby must have their own properly fitting life jacket. However, the USCG says infants must weigh at least 18 pounds for a lifejacket to fit properly. Therefore, we recommend waiting to bring them aboard until they have reached that weight.

2. Find a Protected Area of the Boat

Sometimes, operating a boat requires all hands on deck. And when that happens, you’ll want to have a secure and protected area to seat your baby. Find a spot where you can a) keep an eye on them and b) they can’t fall or move around. Then, you can dock, drive, and drop anchor without stress.   

3. Create Some Shade

When boating with infants, ensuring they don’t become overheated is crucial. Therefore, ensure there will be nice, shady spots for them to relax in. If your boat has a bimini top, use it to block the sun whenever possible. You should also pack a sun hat and/or umbrella, as it’ll give your baby an extra layer of protection.

4. Pack Plenty of Supplies

As you probably already know, babies require lots of stuff! Stock a waterproof diaper bag with your essentials to ensure your little one is comfortable on board. Then, pack a cooler with plenty of juice, water, baby formula, and snacks. And finally, make sure there are plenty of waterproof diapers and sunscreen on board. 

5. Remember, the Safest Place for Your Baby is in Your Arms

Unfortunately, there are no car seats on boats. Therefore, the safest place for your babe to ride will be in your arms. If you hold the baby while cruising, you can make sure they don’t fall or injure themselves. And yes, they still need to be wearing an infant life jacket.

6. Choose Your Boating Hours Carefully

Think of the waterway as an interstate – you don’t necessarily want to go boating with a baby during rush hour. Generally, most boaters set sail around mid to late morning and stay out until the late afternoon or evening. So, if you’re boating with a baby, we recommend starting the day as soon as possible — or waiting until late afternoon — to avoid heavy traffic. Not only that, but the temperature will be cooler, and the water will be smoother. 

7. Prepare for Naptime 

Babies sleep a lot. Therefore, you must find a safe place for them to snooze on board. We recommend bringing a portable rocker or pack-n-play tent and placing it in a protected area of the boat. Not only are they both ideal spots for nap time, but they’re safe and secure places for your babe can relax and play in.

8. Bring a Babysitter (or Two)

Every parent needs a bit of backup here and there. That’s why we recommend inviting friends or family members to assist you while boating with your infant. Often, your friends and fam are very willing to help with your little ones, and you can enjoy their company as well.

9. Plan for Fun – Both In and Out of the Water

Lastly, boating with a baby means planning fun activities in and out of the water. We recommend bringing some waterproof toys from home to keep your baby happy and occupied. Sand and bath toys are excellent options. 

Become a Safe Boater

Fun for all!

Can You Bring a Baby on a Boat?

So, can you bring a baby on a boat ride? Absolutely! Boating with a baby is a fun-filled, one-of-a-kind experience that every water-loving family should enjoy. And if you stick to these nine tips for keeping your baby safe on board, you can rest assured that it will be smooth sailing. 

As your ultimate boating resource, Discover Boating has everything you need to spend a successful summer out on the water. Browse our website’s Articles & Inspiration section for more family boating ideas, buying lists, how-to guides, travel inspiration, and more.