Boating is today one of the world’s most sought-after pastimes. The idea of getting out in the fresh, salty air, exploring new places, learning new skills and spending time away from the stresses of life is incredibly therapeutic. Boating opens up an entire new world of leisure time and fun, and there are so many more fun things to do on a boat than you may have considered. Obviously weather and climate will play an important role in what you can do and when, but from chilly autumn days to blistering hot summers, there’s always adventure to be found.
Whether you want to unwind and relax, or have a boat-load of energetic kids looking to burn off some steam, here are some fun-filled boating activities for the whole family.
The simplest activity on our list – there is no equipment required – might seem like a logical boating pastime, but swimming can be taken to whole new depths (excuse the pun). Cool off from sweltering days with a refreshing dip in the sea or lake, or don a thick wetsuit and brave chillier seas. Plan a day out to a beautiful spot and drop anchor as you all dive in. You might want to have floatation devices or goggles handy for less strong swimmers, but otherwise a fluffy towel at the end of a swim is all that’s needed. Swimming also allows you to do other coastal activities such as caving and coasteering as you swim to shore from your nearby boat. Swim ashore and explore eerie caves, clamber along the rocky coastlines and test your strength and nerve.
2. Snorkelling and Scuba Diving
A step on from swimming, snorkelling gear is a fun thing to have on a boat and allows you to experience the life beneath the waves. Depending on where you are based, you may discover psychedelic-coloured corals, weird and wonderful fish and kelp forests filled with marine life. A mask, snorkel and some fins will provide hours of entertainment, and it can be extremely meditational too as you breathe deeply and watch the subaquatic world pass by. An underwater camera and some local fish identification cards are fun things to bring on a boat too, and kids will delight in spotting and ticking off the different species as they learn.
While scuba diving requires considerably more equipment and training, it can be one of the best boating recreational activities. Sign up to a local scuba diving course as a family (major organisations include PADI and SSI) and armed with gear and a few tanks from a local dive operator you can head off on your very own Jacques Cousteau adventures to meet turtles, moray eels, barracuda or seals.
Fishing tops the list of popular boating activities, and it is less weather dependent than some other ideas on our list. While fishing pros will have perfectly geared fishing boats with an impressive set-up (complete with cooler box for beers as much as keeping the fish cold), anyone can grab some simple gear and turn a day on the boat into a fishing adventure. Do some research about what is legally allowed to be caught in your area, and whether you need any permits, and set off to see what you can catch. You don’t need to head far out to sea, either, as there’s plenty to catch near shore. It is a relaxing and mindful experience certain to lower the blood pressure. Take along a small or disposable BBQ too, and you can grill your freshly caught fish for dinner without even returning to the dock. Or head to the beach and enjoy it with a sunset.
4. Wakeboarding, Water skiing and Towables
Ramping up the adrenaline, water-skiing and wakeboarding are long-standing boating activities that will get the kids squealing in delight. An inboard engine motorboat is best for these activities, but a RIB or skiff will work too. You’ll need a wakeboard or water skiis and a tow-rope which can be purchased online for a few hundred dollars or pounds, as well as life jackets which should be on board anyway. While away hours as you all have a go at standing up and feel the exhilaration when you do.
For something which requires less practice and skill, towable are a firm family favourite. From the doughnut and banana to all manner of shaped inflatables, all you require is a tow-rope and a strong grip and off you go.
5. Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
The market is now awash with excellent quality inflatable, ocean-going kayaks, and they have made kayaking possible even from the smallest of boats as they don’t take up much space. They take a few minutes to inflate and are strong enough for two adults – or up to two adults and a child - to head off on coastal adventures. You don’t need any training to use them, and they open up a whole world of ways to explore. You can also use them as a tender to get to hidden coves and beaches from your anchored boat.
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has taken the world by storm, and it is both an active and mindful experience at the same time. Float across calm waters without making a sound and listen out for the sounds of wildlife and the tranquillity of the sea. Inflatable boards pack up into neat little bags and can easily be stowed on board, making them perfect for any size boat. While they take a little more practice than a kayak, it is a rewarding achievement and good for mind and body as it works the core body muscles.
Yes, you read that correctly! Try setting up a golfing tee from the swim platform or deck and, using biodegradable golf balls, aim for a floating inner tube. As far as fun activities at sea go, golfing from your boat has got to be up there with the best of them. Plus, if you can master your stroke from a swaying boat, just think how good you’ll be on terra firma.
7. Inflatable slides and trampolines
Delight the children with some of the best water toys on the market. Inflatable slides aren’t reserved for superyachts, and can be attached to smaller motorboats with a top deck (after all, you need some gradient to get up speed!). While they are a bit of an investment, and take a bit of time to inflate, the hours of screeching fun will be worth it. If your boat isn’t quite right for a slide, inflatable trampolines provide hours of fun too. Float them off the stern and let the kids (and grown-ups too) somersault to their hearts content.
To find your perfect boat and start the active boating lifestyle, head over to Rightboat.com and search for the latest new and used models near you. We are on hand to offer guidance and advice every step of the way…and we know a thing or two about fun on the water too! See all new and used Ski and Wakeboard Boats for Sale!
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