6 Essential Items for Kids to Pack on a Boat Trip

A family boat trip is an exciting and memorable experience for everyone. Ensuring that your kids have a safe, comfortable, and fun adventure, however, requires thorough planning. The key lies in helping them pack essential items necessary for the journey. Here are six essential items that will ensure a smooth sailing trip for your kids.

Life Jacket or Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

Safety should be the number one priority when taking your kids out on a boat trip. No matter how good of a swimmer your child may be, accidents and emergencies can happen. Always make sure that they have a well-fitting and comfortable life jacket or PFD. Keep in mind that PFDs for kids usually come in different sizes, with varying weight limits. Thus, choosing one that fits your child’s size and weight is crucial. Also, ensure that the life jacket is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard or other relevant authorities.

Sun Protection

Spending hours out in the sun can cause sunburns, dehydration, and other health issues, especially for young children with sensitive skin. Be prepared to protect them from the sun’s harmful effects by packing the following:

  • Sunscreen: Choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 for your kids. Apply it generously and reapply every two hours or after swimming.
  • Hats: Pack wide-brimmed hats to shield your kids’ faces, necks, and shoulders from the sun.
  • Sunglasses: Protect your children’s eyes from harmful UV rays with sunglasses that block out 100% of both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Sun-protective clothing: Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts or UV-blocking rash guards can provide additional sun protection for your kids.

Hydration and Snacks

Children are prone to dehydration, which can be exacerbated while out on the water. Ensure that your kids have easy access to water bottles and encourage them to drink water regularly. Consider packing a cooler with ice packs to keep drinks cool on hot days.

Make sure to also pack snacks that can be easily stored and consumed on the boat. Choose healthy, non-perishable, and mess-free options such as granola bars, trail mix, or fruit.

First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen, and kids are often prone to scrapes and bruises. Packing a first aid kit for your boat trip is essential to ensure your kids are well taken care of in case of any injuries. Items to include are:

  • Band-aids and adhesive bandages in various sizes
  • Sterile gauze pads and adhesive tape
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Antiseptic wipes and antibiotic ointment
  • A digital thermometer
  • Children’s pain-relief medication and any necessary prescription medication
  • Hydrocortisone cream for bug bites


While the excitement of being on a boat can entertain your kids for a while, it’s a good idea to have some additional entertainment handy. Simple, portable items like books, playing cards, or small toys can be a great distraction if boredom sets in. Waterproof bags can be used to safely store electronics such as tablets or portable game consoles.

Additionally, don’t forget to bring along some appropriate water toys like flotation devices or noodles, snorkeling gear, or fishing equipment for added fun.

Appropriate Clothing

Weather conditions on a boat can often be unpredictable, so ensure that your kids are prepared with appropriate clothing. A general rule of thumb is to dress in layers. Start with a lightweight, moisture-wicking base layer, followed by an insulating layer (such as a fleece jacket), and top it off with a waterproof outer layer. Don’t forget to pack a change of clothes, extra socks, and closed-toe shoes or water-resistant sandals.

Taking your kids on a boat trip is a unique experience that can create lasting memories. However, ensuring they remain safe, comfortable, and entertained is key to making the trip enjoyable for all. By packing these six essential items, you can help guarantee a smooth and fun-filled adventure for both you and your kids.

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