How a Boat Can Build Families

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Things happen in families that can tear relationships apart. When this happens, family life can be difficult, becoming an emotional roller-coast ride and a sullen war of conflicting interests. While family therapy can certainly heal emotional wounds and renegotiate boundaries, sometimes a family just needs to do something together to feel like a family again.

One way to pull off this miracle is through boating. Getting a boat is a great idea because boating is one way a family can spend quality time together.

Boating with your spouse and kids can foster deeper relationships, make fun memories and let you pass down knowledge through the generations. Once your kids learn how to handle all the work on board, you will have a common activity that can last a lifetime. A love for boating and heading out into the wide open waters is something you can share with your kids even when they are all grown up.

Types of Boats

When it comes to buying a boat, there is an armada of choices. Financing a boat is also much easier than financing a car. This is because lenders are willing to offer long-term financing since boat owners, unlike car owners, are usually not interested in trading in their boat for the latest model. They fall in love with boats and keep them for a long time. Boating is not something only the rich and famous can afford. How much you spend depends on the brand, model, and size of the boat you choose to purchase.

Begin by researching the types of boats available for a small family.

The Short List

To give you an idea of just how many types of boats are available, here is a short list of boat types:

  • All-Purpose Fishing Boats
  • Aluminum Fishing Boats
  • Bass Boats
  • Bay or Flats Boats
  • Bowriders
  • Cabin Cruisers
  • Center Consoles
  • Cuddy Cabins
  • Deck Boats
  • Dinghies
  • Fish & Ski
  • High Performance Boats
  • Inboard Ski / Wakeboard Boats
  • Inflatables
  • Jet Boats
  • Motor Yacht/Cruisers
  • Multi-Hull Power Boats
  • Personal Watercrafts
  • Pontoon Boats
  • Sailboats
  • Sportfishing Boats
  • Trawlers
  • Walkarounds

Three Main Categories

While the short list alone can be overwhelming, you can boil it down into three primary groups: cruising boats, fishing boats, and boats for watersports.

An excellent article in entitled “What Type of Recreational Boat is Right for You?”  describes the different boats:

  • “Cruising: Geared to those looking to spend time relaxing or entertaining on the water. Some models offer room and features sufficient for a day cruise; others feature cabins and amenities for an overnight stay.
  • Fishing: Open cockpits in the rear – or stern – allow for more front – or bow – deck space to make it easier to fish. While smaller vessels don’t have much room for seating, larger craft may include cabins for overnight trips.
  • Watersports: Specifically designed to accommodate water skiers and wake boarders, these boats have towing capabilities and offer a faster, more thrilling ride.”

What to Do Onboard


This is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about an activity related to boating. But how do you teach your kids to take an interest in fishing?

An article in on teaching children how to enjoy boating offers the following advice:

“To let kids learn to love water through fishing, help them discover it on their own terms. The freedom to go freestyle lets them satisfy their own curiosity in their own way. Limit the options by circumstance, not rules. Worried about them falling in? Give them a cool new life jacket to wear. Then don’t worry about it. Spice up the experience with inexpensive kids’ rods which come complete with a tackle pack of hook, line, sinkers and bobbers.”


Depending on the type of boat you get, there are a wide range of options for watersports. With a powerboat, for example, you can try waterskiing while a sailboat is a fun way to simply catch the wind and race across the waters. You can use the boat to visit nearby islands or you can just anchor it and go snorkeling or scuba diving.


Safety is an important consideration. Although your children will be wearing life jackets, it’s a good idea that they also learn to swim before you go boating.

Falling into the water is not the only risk when boating, the too much sun-exposure can be as well. Besides sunglasses, broad brimmed hats, and loose clothing, you should get sunscreen. SPF 15 works well, but if you don’t think it’s enough try SPF 30 or 70.

Family Boating Trips

Boating is not an idle sport and requires lots of hands-on skills. Everyone needs to participate and work as a team. Afterward, when all the necessary chores have been done, a family can sit back, drink in the majesty of sea and sky, and reflect, in a peaceful way, on some of the deeper issues of life as a family.


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