Renting a paddle boat with kids sounds like a great idea. What better way to have some family bonding time? But paddle boating comes with some risks and some frustrations. Know what you’re getting into before you head out onto the lake in a foot-powered boat.
Be Ready for Work
Paddle boating seems like a relaxing activity, but it takes a lot of work to move the boat through the water. My first adult experience on a paddle boat was surprising. Your legs get tired quite quickly, especially if you’re not used to using your leg muscles so much.
Pedaling around a lake might sound like fun at first for kids, but they might get bored with it quickly, especially once they see how much work it is. You’re better off if you have another adult in the boat with you to help with the pedaling. Even if your kids do continue pedaling, they probably won’t generate as much power as you would like. You’ll still end up doing most of the work.
Time It Right
How long should you rent the paddle boat? That’s a matter of personal preference. It does take a while to get very far when you’re pedaling a boat through the water, so make sure you give yourself enough time to explore. But you don’t want to waste your money if you end up cutting the trip way short. On your first trip, rent the boat for an hour at the most. This gives you enough time to explore, but you won’t be out much money if you head back early.
The time of day is another consideration. Going during the heat of the day means you’ll be stuck in the blazing sun for the whole trip. The sun reflects off the water and makes it more intense. Also consider your child’s normal routine. Rent the paddle boat at a time when he normally has lots of energy.
Life vests are a must when paddle boating with kids, even if the pond is shallow. Paddle boats are fairly stable, so it won’t likely tip. But you never know what could happen in the middle of the lake. A curious child might lean over too far and slip right over the edge. Don’t just keep the life vests in the boat. Have them on all passengers and secured correctly.
You also need to be aware of other traffic on the water. Stay out of the way of faster boats. Stick with areas with light traffic. If you’re going around another group in a paddle boat, call out to them to let them know you’re passing.
Go With It
Don’t go into the paddle boating experience with high expectations. Let your child set the pace. If she gets bored early, paddle to a different area to explore. If everyone gets tired, stop pedaling and let the boat float with the waves. Relax and enjoy the experience.