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1. BE PREPARED
As a momma, this is basically the number one tip/rule in your life regardless of where you are going. Always be prepared! I can't stress this enough for the boat! You are basically in the middle of the water somewhere, and the last thing you want to do is have to go back to land every so often to get whatever it is that you forgot.
When I'm packing my bag/diaper bag my essentials go as follows :
2. WEAR YOUR BABY
I love this bit of advice. Baby wearing is basically the best, for so many different reasons and this is one of the atypical reasons! When getting on, and off of the boat - wear. your. baby. It is so important that during this transition from the land to water and vice versa that they are almost literally glued to you! NEVER pass your baby from person A to person B to get onto the boat! For mom it is SO much more comforting knowing that are right on you and basically can't move without you. Accidents can happen in a split second, so always be extra cautious even with baby wearing them onto the boat. Make sure there is somebody on the boat guiding you down, and somebody on land behind you kind of hovering you! Safety is obviously key here, so you can never have too much help! Continue to wear your baby until you get from point A to point B! NEVER pass them around during the time that the boat is in movement.
3. FIND YOUR SAFE SPOT
If you're like us, and have grown up on a boat/the water you probably have never really thought about sitting in the "safest" spot because to us they are all safe! Which is true! But it's very important that you sit in a sturdy seat. Mostly for the comfort of the baby aspect, but it does also make you feel much safer and more secure! Usually, depending on the type of boat you are on, there is a seat, kind of like a captains chair, just not behind the steering wheel! Usually this seat gets splashed by water the least, and is a little higher up so you don't feel the boat hitting the waves as hard! If you sit in those lower seats, your little babe is going to be constantly bouncing up and down, and constantly shaken, which obviously is not good for their fragile bodies/heads!
4. KEEP COOL
The Florida heat is no joke, and I'm sure wherever you are located 80+ degrees, is 80+ degrees! HOT HOT HOT! A risk factor of SIDS can be overheating, so it is so important that you keep your babe as cool as possible! Depending on the degree of the water, we will put a reusable swim diaper on her, and dip her in! Make sure you change them almost immediately after a dip in the water to protect against infections caused by sitting water, such as UTI's (yes - boys can get them too)! Most boats have some type of Bimini or covering that you can set your babe under in their seat. If the boat you are on only has a T-Top or nothing at all I highly suggest bringing an umbrella and figuring out how to bungee cord it to the center console somehow (Haven't had this problem yet, so just spit balling ideas here)! Shade is crucial in keeping them protected from the sun (as well as sunscreen)! and in turn keeping them cool! We also bring a handy dandy 02 Cool fan with us. It is battery operated, so it's great to face towards her when we feel like that she is getting too hot! ALWAYS supervise fan use, never let your child hold the fans themselves! Their little fingers are the perfect size to get caught in those slits and get hurt!
5. HAVE FUN!
I know, such an obvious one! But really y'all! Have a blast! I know sometimes being a parent in these situations is nerve-wracking, because again, accidents happen in a split second! But enjoy these moments with your babe while they are still little! They grow up so fast, and these memories are ones you don't want to miss! Take lots of pictures, as always! As long as you are being as safe as humanly possible, you should be just fine, and completely able to enjoy yourself!
All of these tips are based off of boating with experienced boaters and passengers. If this is your first time on a boat, or your operators first time operating a boat, then leave that babe at home until you get comfortable and familiarized!