Heyday executive Keisha Bentley Spicer answers the question, “Can I bring my baby on a boat?” with a resounding, “Yes!”
When Keisha and her husband Brandon added a little one to their lives, at first they thought they might need a babysitter when they wanted to hop on their Heyday wake boat.
However, they soon discovered that with a little creativity and planning, boating with a baby is not only doable, but also a great family bonding experience.
Here are Keisha’s tips for making those early memories with your littlest rider-in-training.
1) Take Baby Steps
Get your baby acclimated to the water slowly and make it a fun and joyful event by laughing and smiling a lot.
“Start with short days on the water,” Keisha says. “While you may be used to being on the water from sunup to sundown, your baby is not likely to share the same energy for a full day on board.”
The fact that they’re on the water with you is a great way to help them develop a lifelong love of boating.
2) Bring Necessities from Home
Parents of infants know there are some things you just can’t do without if you want a calm, happy baby.
Keisha and other moms swear by inflatable bathtubs that you can use as a portable playpen.
“Line it with a towel so that your little one won’t stick to the plastic,” she says. “Also, a small swing attached to the tower gives your baby a safe, fun place to play when the boat is at rest and lets you keep the deck clear.”
3) Don’t Forget Sun and Heat Protection
Always over-prepare for hot summer days on the boat with your baby.
“A small fan is essential to help generate some breeze around the baby when the boat’s not moving, especially if they’re on the deck where there’s very little air movement.”
We recommend a bladeless, USB chargeable fan that you can plug in and stow easily on board.
While UV protection is smart at any age, you’ll want to take extra precautions to protect an infant whose delicate skin is more susceptible to sunburn.
“Use beach towel clips to attach towels to the Bimini or tower to help block the sun from coming in from the sides of the boat that the Bimini can’t block,” Keisha says adding that zinc-based sunscreen and a bucket hat that stays in place should never be left behind.
4) Outfit Changes Are a Must
This could seem like a given to anyone who’s ever changed a baby, but Keisha lays out some important details when it comes to family boating.
“Take a change of clothes so your baby will be comfortable on the ride home after a great day on the water,” she says. “That includes having two life jackets: one that can get wet and one that stays dry.”
And if you plan on taking a dip together, you’ll want to make sure you bring along soft swim diapers that can prevent skin irritation and are more environmentally friendly than some disposable diapers.
5) Little Details Make a Big Difference
While you want your baby to be part of every moment on board, there are some moments where you’ll need them to stay soothed and entertained while you take in the scenery.
Just a few items that will make it easier include:
A smartphone mount to keep your baby entertained with cartoons, using a smartphone or iPad mount keeps your hands free
A non-spillable snack holder that doesn’t allow spills to help keep your boat clean
Disposable bags for dirty diapers
An insulated bottle with a screw-on cap, rather than one with a slider lid, for carrying warmed formula
These tips are just the beginning—as you probably know—but your friends wake community will also have plenty of advice! The key is starting early, and your family will grow together on board, right before your eyes.