Now that summer’s almost here, the kids are probably wondering when you’re going to take them boating. Or, more precisely, when you are going to get the boat out and start dragging them through the water.
Kids of all ages just love being dragged on something attached to a boat. Some love to jump on a big inner tube and get pulled across the water and waves as fast as possible. Others enjoy being hauled around while zig-zagging across the wakes on a wakeboard or skis.
Bright sunshine, warm water, the feel of wind in the hair, the exhilaration of speed across the waves, the ability to jump the wake and do other fun tricks. Isn’t that what summer season boating is all about?
Yes, it is. So here are some timely tips for you and your family to ensure that your boating experiences are safe as much as they are fun.
First, choose the right equipment. Different boards are designed for riders of differing skills. Beginners should use a lighter, foam-based wakeboard with bigger fins, which help make the board controllable and easier to ride. More advanced riders can graduate to all-wood boards with shorter fins. These boards are built for maneuverability and tricks.
Stop by our marina shop and let out experienced sales associates help you order the proper equipment for your riders through Yamaha accessories.
You will also need a good towing rope, suitable for your riders’ height and weight. Of course every rider and boater should be wearing a Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device. Wakeboarders should also consider wearing a helmet. Crashing is part of the learning process, and protecting young noggins is a good idea.
It takes a little practice to learn how to get upright on a board from in the water. The start is not unlike water skiing, where your legs resist the forward motion of the starting boat to pull the body upright and begin riding along the surface.
Boarders should also determine if they prefer to ride “regular” or “goofy.” Regular is left-foot forward on the board; so-called goofy footers ride with the right foot forward.
Once your young riders learn how to start and how to ride behind the boat, they can begin learning the turns, start leaping over the wakes and then add additional skills. There’s an entire lexicon you’ll have to learn about the names of the various tricks the pro riders use: fakey and raily and all the rest!
It doesn’t take much in the way of skill to ride an inner tube, or one of the specially designed riding tubes on the market.
You mainly need to determine how many riders will be riding on the tube. If the kids don‘t want to take turns, you’ll need one big enough for everyone!
Again, check the condition of the tow rope, make sure everyone has a PFD and helmet if desired, and make sure everyone knows how to hang on for dear life!
In both wakeboarding and tubing, proper procedure calls for one person to drive the boat, and another adult to serve as the spotter. The captain drives the boat and the spotter is there to let him know if anyone falls off or if the boarder takes a tumble.
Having the right equipment, the proper training and operating your boat safely will all contribute to a fun-filled boating experience for your kids.