If this picture doesn’t melt your heart, check your pulse! It was taken this week aboard the Coral Sea, out of Sea Landing in Santa Barbara. The weather was great. Local fishing has largely been a bottom oriented affair. With the kids going on Christmas break, it’s the perfect time to get them off their various electronic devices and get them out on the water.
Even if you regularly get out on the water yourself, it might not be immediately apparent what (if anything) you should do differently when bringing a kid out on the water. These tips will help you make a good memory of your trip.
It’s Not About You
PATIENCE PATIENCE PATIENCE
Kids will get tangled. Kids will get bored. Kids will get hungry, thirsty, need to go to the bathroom etc. etc. And inevitably, it will happen when you’ve got a bite on. Just remember…
the kid is your first priority.
Their safety and enjoyment = your long term happiness of developing a fishing buddy for life! And if you can get a kid on a bite, they’ll get “it” and want to replicate that experience, so be patient.
How can you tell if a boat is safe? Here are some questions to ask yourself: Does it have all the proper safety equipment? Does the captain do a safety orientation at the beginning of each trip? Does it have a clean restroom and eating facilities? Is there a good high rail around the entire perimeter of the boat? Is the crew friendly and patient? Is there a place for a kid to hang out to get out of the elements or just get out of the way of the other anglers if they’re not into fishing?
Ideally, you want to scope these things out BEFORE you take out your kid. At the least, look for these things before you leave the dock and bail if it doesn’t pass muster.
Tell your kids to always have something solid to hold onto. The boat is a moving platform. They should always be aware of their surroundings too. Watch for people casting, deckhands gaffing etc. That being said, always keep an eye on them yourself.
What should I bring on the boat?
Here are some essential items that every angler should have, but more so if you’re with a kid.
- hats with a brim – the sun is more intense on the water and you’re spending more time exposed to it
- sunscreen & lip balm- make sure you get your neck and ears and use lip balm that has SPF protection
- sunglasses – the sun reflects off the water and you need to protect your eyes
- water – can be found in the galley normally, but bring some of your own just in case
- extra tackle – kids tangle up, lose tackle etc. make sure you have extra
- phone charger – you’ll want to make sure you’re ready when they land their first fish, so make sure your phone is charged up. Airplane mode is your friend.
- hand towels – bait and fish can be messy
- bandaids and first aid ointment – little nicks and scrapes happen, better to be prepared
Some of my favorite memories, from my own childhood and when my kids were younger, are times spent on the water. Go make some memories.
Good luck if you get out there.