Category: Water Guides

April 11, 2023 by Tamara Nash 0 Comments

The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking With Kids And Toddlers

It can be common to wonder, ‘how young is too young?’ to take your kids on a kayaking trip. Luckily, double kayaks exist! A kayaking trip is an incredible bonding experience your whole family will cherish for years.

If you plan to introduce your little ones to kayaking but aren’t sure where to start, our comprehensive guide will help. We’ll cover all the must-know information to get your kids kayaking confidently and safely. 

The skills that are developed during this formative time go far beyond kayaking. You can foster a sense of exploration, appreciation for nature, and love for fitness in your kids that will last a lifetime. 

(Related: Can You Bring Your Baby On A Boat?)

Challenges To Kayaking With Kids

Kayaking with kids can be an enriching and fun experience, but you should understand some risks.

It’s essential to be aware that: 

  • Water safety is paramount 
  • Sun safety is a must 
  • Your children must have basic swimming skills
  • All family members should be mindful of what to do in the event of an accident 
  • You will need necessary supplies (water, food, first-aid) for day trips

Some children are naturally nervous and hesitant around water. For tips on how best to manage this, read here.

Kids will likely take your lead if you are comfortable and confident! However, every family will have a different dynamic; only you know your children’s capabilities best. 

(Related: Is Kayaking Dangerous?)

Planning The Ideal Kayaking Trip 

Planning your trip will come down to a few key factors.

Most parents prefer to be over-prepared, and in this situation, we agree! We recommend researching the below points to plan your trip. 

Will There Be Warm or Cold Water? 

Whilst the water temperature doesn’t affect your ability to kayak, it’s an essential factor to note if your kayak tips over!

Kids have more difficulty regulating their body temperature and are more susceptible to hypothermia than adults. You should stick to kayaking in warmer months and avoid anywhere with snow or ice until they are teenagers.  

Our tips are below: 

  1. If your child were to fall out of the kayak, be aware that immersion in water below 18 degrees celsius can cause hyperventilation and, in rare cases, hypothermia.
  2. As a precaution, you should equip children with a wetsuit to insulate them in colder temperatures. Our recommendations are here.
  3. The time of day will affect water temperature; we recommend sticking to daylight hours only.

You can check the water temperature on your local weather app for your kayaking location. 

Will You Kayak On Still Or Moving Water?

Kayaking is a versatile sport that changes depending on the conditions. To understand adequate safety risks and precautions, you should study the water before you embark.

Water can be: 

  • Moving: Rivers, sea 
  • Still: Natural lakes, ponds, manufactured swimming clubs, and lakes

If you have kids nervous about their first trip, a gentle day on the lake is a great way to ease their fears. We recommend taking a tandem kayak and familiarising your entire family with the surroundings before they can paddle with you or on their own. Stick to slow rivers.

It’s important to note that experts recommend no child under the age of 6 kayaks alone. Regardless of age, you should supervise all children at all times.

What Time of Day Will You Kayak?

Choosing the time and season to kayak is an essential detail. 

The time of year can affect: 

  • Air temperature 
  • Favourable wind conditions 
  • How busy national parks and rivers are with other kayakers 
  • Budget of the trip (travelling during the summer or school holiday season can be costly) 

As for the time of day (although it depends on the location), morning is ideal as it is quieter. Plus, kids also tend to have more energy in the morning!

How Long Will Your Kayak Trip Be?

Choosing the length of your trip will ultimately come down to your budget and the amount of time you can dedicate to travelling.

If you choose to go during the school holidays, it can be fun to make a camping trip. Alternatively, shorter day trips or a few hours on the water may be a big enough adventure for your family. 

For longer trips, consider pairing up with other families so that children have friends to socialise with along the way. You can also look up popular kayaking spots in your area and visit them for a picnic lunch to see more before the big day.

Preparing Your Children To Kayak 

Getting your kids ready for the trip can help you avoid any miscommunications or anxieties on the day.

For a few weeks before you embark, speak to your children about the upcoming trip and answer any questions or concerns they may have. Build excitement and fortify their confidence. We love these tips here.

Children are adaptive to your excitement as much as they are to stress. If you have your own kayaking stories, share them with your kids so they know it’s truly something to look forward to! 

You should also consider the below tips.

Introduce Ultimate Water Sports Skills 

Your children can learn a few exercises to improve their kayaking skills.


Having confident children and strong swimmers is excellent for everyone’s peace of mind. Knowing that your child can swim in the event of the kayak tipping also alleviates anxiety for them.

Our tip? Consider practising in the pool or let your child’s swim instructors know they have a kayak trip coming up to practise specific skills. 

Paddling and Rowing

Depending on what kind of boat you choose, it’s helpful for kids to know how to use their kayak paddles before you begin kayaking. 

Our tip? You can easily show them how it works with a stick or broom. A fun activity for young kids is turning a cardboard box into an imaginary ‘kayak’ and practising paddling in the comfort of your home.

You can also enrol them in kayaking lessons where they will learn as part of a kayaking group. Check out your local paddling association and clubs for more information.

Manage Safety Precautions And Expectations

It’s no secret that children perform better with clear boundaries and expectations, and a kayaking trip should be no different. 

You should clearly outline your expectations for the day. Most importantly, have them repeat emergency plans, like how to use a line and float or where to go for help.

Other important safety rules you should outline: 

  • How to use a safety vest
  • Why it’s important to remain seated and not lean out of the kayak 
  • When to communicate if they become tired or want to stop paddling
  • That you will all remain close to the shore and on known waters
  • That you will check the weather conditions beforehand and make sure it is safe

TOP TIP! Be sure to plan in regular bathroom breaks so as not to disrupt your trip.

Organising Your Equipment 

If you don’t already own a kayak and paddles, you should consider hiring from the water park or lake you are visiting.

Once the family feels confident and excited about regular kayaking, you can invest in your gear. Also, consider second-hand options, as these can be quite expensive! 

Kayak or Canoe? 

One of the most common queries is choosing a kayak or a canoe. We see benefits to both. 


  • Kayaks are much smaller than canoes.
  • They can be easier to learn with as they are less challenging to steer (lighter)  
  • Tandem kayaks allow two (sometimes three) people on board.


  • Canoes are much larger and broader than kayaks
  • They are more sturdy but challenging to manoeuvre (especially in moving water) 
  • You can fit multiple people in them, like a kayak
  • They tend to be more comfortable for longer trips

Single or Double Kayak?

Generally, most kids will be ready to take on the water independently at around fourteen years old and with some practice. Any younger and your child will need to ride with you.

A canoe or double kayak is great for teenage kids to paddle together. Discover great options here. Remember, experienced paddlers should sit in the back, while beginner paddlers should sit in the front.

Sit-On-Top Kayaks Versus Sit-In Kayaks

A sit-on-top kayak is a type of kayak that’s designed for recreational or sports use, particularly in warmer climates. Unlike traditional kayaks where the paddler sits inside the kayak, in a sit-on-top kayak, the paddler sits on top of the kayak’s hull, with their legs exposed to the elements.


A sit-on-top kayak has an open design, with the paddler sitting on top of the kayak’s hull, while a sit-in kayak is enclosed, with the paddler sitting inside the kayak’s hull.


Sit-on-top kayaks are generally wider and more stable than sit-in kayaks. This makes them easier to balance and less likely to capsize. However, sit-in kayaks have a lower centre of gravity, which can also make them more stable.


Sit-on-top kayaks are generally more comfortable than sit-in kayaks, as the paddler’s legs are not confined inside the hull. They are also easier to get in and out of, making them more accessible for people with limited mobility. However, sit-in kayaks can be fitted with more comfortable seats and have a drier ride, as the paddler is protected from splashing water.


Sit-in kayaks are generally faster and more efficient than sit-on-top kayaks, as they have less wind resistance and are more streamlined. Sit-on-top kayaks are more manoeuvrable and can handle a wider range of conditions, including surf and whitewater.

In general, sit-on-top kayaks are better suited for recreational use, such as fishing or exploring calm waterways, while sit-in kayaks are better suited for touring, expedition paddling, and other performance-oriented activities.

Paddle or Duff

Duffing is where a child sits in the middle compartment of the kayak without paddling. Kids old enough to swim will likely enjoy the opportunity to help steer the boat, but duffing is still an exciting adventure for children that are too young.

Duffing can help a child understand how to balance their body in the kayak and the importance of water safety.

Safety Essentials To Pack

If you plan to be out for more than a few hours, we suggest you adequately prepare for all circumstances. 

Here are a few essential items to pack for your journey:

  • Life jackets for kids and toddlers
  • Emergency whistles
  • Drinking water
  • High-energy snacks like fruit and dates
  • First-aid kit
  • Warm clothing or a change of clothes
  • Waterproof containers for phones and maps 
  • Wetsuits or water shoes for cold conditions 
  • Physical maps of the location 

Tips For Kayaking With Kids

Once you’ve planned your day and have all the equipment, you’re ready to get out on the water! This is the fun part.

To recap our tips: 

  1. Move confidently: Don’t force your kids in the water if they feel uncomfortable or scared; cultivate excitement and encourage them. 
  2. Practice water safety: Ensure everyone feels confident swimmingbefore you kayak.
  3. Outline expectations: Go over plans with your children before arriving at the location and answer any questions. 
  4. Practice: Run through any safety devices before the trip (ideally in a pool). 
  5. Make it fun: Hold a sing-along or play a game of I-Spy. Tell your children that you’re proud of them for trying something new!

Taking Kids Kayaking 

Kayaking is a one-of-a-kind experience. Like so many other sports activities, inviting your kids along is a great way to create a family experience that allows you to bond, connect and learn from one another. 

A kayaking excursion allows you to foster a child’s skills on the water, improve their confidence and encourage their appreciation for nature. With enough planning, a kayaking trip will provide you with magical memories for years to come. 


April 6, 2023 by Tamara Nash 0 Comments

Bringing Babies And Infants On A Boat: Is It A Good Idea?

You may be apprehensive about taking your new baby or infant on a boat as a new parent.

Can they go on boats? Is it a good idea?

In this blog post, we will explore bringing infants and babies on boats. We will discuss the pros and cons of taking infants on a boat, and give you some tips for making the experience safe and enjoyable for everyone involved!

Don’t Become A Boating Statistic.

Boating is a very popular family activity in the United States. Just over 17 million recreational boats are in use in the country, according to the 2021 figures from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Yet, there are risks involved.

For example, in 2021, the Coast Guard reported 5,265 boating accidents that involved 767 deaths, the vast majority of which were due to drowning.

Of those drowning victims, 86% were not wearing a lifejacket – even though the law requires life jackets to be worn by every occupant on board.

(Related: How To Prevent Your Child From Drowning).

11 Rules For Boating With An Infant.

The biggest hazard to boaters with infants isn’t weather, water or other boaters. It’s complacency.

People ignore simple rules that, as mundane as they may seem, are very effective at ensuring boating safety.

1. Wait Until They’re Older.

Newborn babies do not belong on a boat. As a rule, don’t take infants weighing less than 18 pounds on your boating adventures.

Your baby will reach this weight at about 7 months (if it’s a boy) or 9 months (if it’s a girl) of age.

By waiting until your infant baby reaches sufficient weight, you’re ensuring that they’ll be able to wear a properly fitted infant life jacket.

Expert Tip: an exception to this rule is if the boat is anchored or is moving slowly no further than a few hundred feet away from the marina.

2. Create A Pre-Departure Checklist.

The problem with recurring tasks (like packing lots of small items for a boat trip) is that becoming complacent is easy.

Their menial nature lulls you into a false sense of confidence. You tell yourself that you can remember every item you must bring. Yet, your life is busy; getting distracted and leaving an important item behind is easy.

I’ve seen it happen on many occasions. Do any of the following sound familiar?

  • Your phone rings while you’re looking for an infant life vest.
  • Your older child decides to have a meltdown while you’re packing food for the infant.

Expert Tip: Checklists are also important when multiple people are involved. Your partner may assume that you’re responsible for bringing extra clothes for the kids, while you also do the same.

Quite a few free smartphone checklist apps are available. Todoist and Google Tasks are my favourites, but you should choose the best one for you by checking out this list.

(Related: 10 Best Baby Floats).

3. Create A Boarding Process.

Boarding is inherently risky because it involves transitioning from a stable surface to a floating one, often via a water gap.

Two of the best approaches for boarding are:

  • The Football. You pass the infant to another adult who is already on the boat.
  • The Catch. You hold the baby tightly and step across while another adult, who is already on the boat, is ready to steady you upon arrival.

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Infants).

4. No Alcohol While Infant Is On A Boat.

You should never drink alcohol while you’re operating a boat, and this rule is doubly important when you have an infant on board. The person who is responsible for the child should not be consuming alcohol.

Not only can alcohol impair your judgment, but it can also make it harder for you to react quickly in an emergency situation.

(Related: Best Floaties For One and Two Year-Old Toddlers).

5. Bring An Infant Life Jacket.

Never take your infant on a boat ride without them wearing an infant life jacket. Resist the temptation to think you don’t need one – even if you’re going for a short ride on calm waters.

Your infant should be wearing a life jacket at all times while on the boat. No exceptions.

(Related: How To Choose The Right Life Jacket For Your Child).

6. Don’t Rely on Swimming Aids

Water wings or pool noodles are great for entertaining your youngsters, but you should never use them in place of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD) or a lifejacket.

(Related: Is Kayaking Dangerous?)

7. Know How To Contact The Coast Guard.

What will you do if your infant falls into the water and needs medical help?

Expert Tip: Infants can drown in as little as 20 seconds, and it only takes two minutes to suffer irreparable brain damage.

Have the local Coast Guard’s office phone number stored in your phone, so that you can call them in case of an emergency.

Yes, the boat will have a marine radio with a direct line to the US Coast Guard, but you need to have a backup process in case the radio is damaged or the people who know how to use it are incapacitated.

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Toddlers).

8. Keep Your Infant Warm.

During boat trips, infants can get cold easily, so bring a blanket or two to keep them warm. Marine weather can change quickly, so bring them even if you think you won’t need them.

Expert Tip: It’s also a good idea to dress the kid in layers, as this will give you more flexibility in regulating their body temperature.

9. Create Dedicated Shade For Your Infant.

Because of infants’ gentle and sensitive skin, you should avoid using sunscreen. Instead, protect them from the sun by:

  • Making sure your boat has a sufficiently large shade canopy.
  • Dressing your baby in a long-sleeved swim shirt.
  • Putting a wide-brim hat on the infant’s head.

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Kids).

10. Ensure That The Weather Is Calm.

Check the weather radar and forecast before heading out. Babies and infants are sensitive to jerky movements, so choosing a calm day with smooth waters is important for your water adventure.

Weather can change quickly. Keep checking the weather forecasts every hour to avoid bad weather.

Expert Tip. More than three-quarters of boating accidents occur in fair weather and broad daylight, with good visibility, light winds and calm waters. And boaters are 10 times as likely to die on a lake, pond or bay than on the high seas.

11. Don’t Be Frugal When It Comes To Packing.

Think like a scout! Be overprepared. Bring extra waterproof diaper bags, food, pacifiers, waterproof toys, clothes, baby formula and sunscreen.

Expert Tip: Make sure your diaper bag is waterproof. You’ll thank me later 🙂

Frequently Asked Questions About Infants On A Boat.

Which Waterways Are Best For Boating With Kids?

If you’re new to boating and live on the East Coast of the United States check out the Intracoastal Waterway, which runs for 3,000 miles along most of the Eastern Seaboard.

It starts in Norfolk, Virginia, passes through Fort Lauderdale, Florida and ends in Brownsville, Texas.

West Coast families need to be more careful, as waves here tend to be larger than in the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. Nonetheless, Seattle, San Diego, and San Francisco offer plenty of calm waterways that you can explore with your infant on board.

Alternatively, go for boat rides in your local river or a lake. Avoid heading out into the ocean, where the waters may be more unpredictable and rough.

(Related: Are Puddle Jumpers Coast Guard Approved?)

Do Small Babies Need To Wear Infant Life Jackets?

Yes, absolutely. Moreover, you’re responsible for ensuring that the life jacket fits properly. Visit USCG Boating for help with the sizing of a personal floatation device for your youngster, and use this test as an additional measure:

  • Put it on your infant.
  • Tighten the straps.
  • Lift the baby by the life jacket’s shoulders.

The life jacket is too big if your infant’s chin slips down through the opening.

Can Infants Get Seasick?

Yes. While seasickness is most common in older children (usually between the ages of two and twelve) babies can get it, too.

Can Infants Go On A Boat?

Yes, infants can go on a boat, as long as you follow the rules in this guide and follow precautions.

Infants are more vulnerable to the elements than adults, so keeping them warm and protected from the sun is important. You should also avoid taking them out in rough waters.


April 5, 2023 by Tamara Nash 0 Comments

How Does A Life Jacket Work?

You must choose the best life jacket for your child. As a parent, you are responsible for your child’s safety on the water, which is why we want you to choose the best life jacket for your child.

This guide includes:

  • Differences between a life jacket and a buoyancy aid
  • What to look for in a child’s life jacket
  • How a life jacket works
  • Life jacket regulations
  • And a lot more.

When it comes to safety, there is no room for compromise. That’s why life jackets are such an important piece of gear when enjoying any water activity – from swimming and boating, to kayaking and paddleboarding.

(Related: Are You Allowed To Bring Your Infant On A Boat?)

But how do you choose the best life jacket for your child? And what’s the difference between a life jacket, buoyancy aid and impact vest?

In this guide, we will answer all of your questions so that you can make an informed purchase for your little one.

Differences Between Life Jackets And Buoyancy Aids.

First off, let’s talk about the different types of personal flotation devices (PFDs) available on the market. The two main categories are:

  • life jackets
  • buoyancy aids

Life Jackets.

A life jacket is the most common type of PFD and offers the highest level of protection. It is designed to keep a person’s head above water and provide insulation in cold weather conditions. Life jackets are required by law for anyone riding on a boat, regardless of their age or swimming ability.

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Infants).

Buoyancy Aids.

A buoyancy aid is not as bulky as a life jacket and is suitable for swimmers who want more freedom of movement. They do not offer the same level of protection as a life jacket, but they will keep you afloat if you fall into the water.

Buoyancy aids are not legal requirements, but we recommend using one when participating in any water activity.

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Toddlers).

What To Look For In A Life Jacket.

Now that you know the different types of PFDs available, let’s take a look at what to look for when choosing a child’s life jacket.


The most important factor to consider is how well the life jacket will fit your child. It needs to be snug enough that it will not ride up or move around when your child is in the water, but not so tight that it causes discomfort.


It’s also important to consider how the life jacket will be used. If your child will be primarily using it on a boat, you need to make sure they have a model that meets Coast Guard requirements.

For watersports such as kayaking and paddleboarding, look for a life jacket that has additional features like padding and straps which will help keep it in place during vigorous activity.


Finally, take into account your child’s swimming ability. A life jacket is not suitable for everyone – if your child cannot swim well, then they should definitely wear one.

We hope you find this information helpful when choosing the best life jacket for your child. Stay safe and have fun out on the water!

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Kids).

How A Life Jacket Works.

Now that you know how to choose the best life jacket for your child, it’s important to understand how a life jacket works.

When a person falls into water, their natural instinct is to gasp for air and swim towards the surface. However, this can be difficult or even impossible in cold water or rough conditions.

A life jacket provides buoyancy and keeps the wearer’s head above water, giving them time to regain their composure and swim safely.

(Related: 7 Best Water Games For The Lake).

Life Jacket Regulations.

The United States has specific regulations governing how life jackets must be designed and labelled. Here are a few important points to keep in mind:

  • All life jackets must be labelled with their buoyancy rating in pounds (lbs).
  • Life jackets for children must have a minimum buoyancy of 22 lbs.
  • There are different types of life jackets available for different activities. Make sure you choose the right one for your child’s needs.

For more information on life jacket regulations in the USA, visit the Coast Guard website.

Why Your Child Needs A Life Jacket.

We cannot stress enough how important it is for your child to wear a life jacket when participating in any water activity. Here are just a few of the many reasons why:

  • It can keep a child’s head above water and help them to regain their composure in a panic situation.
  • It can provide warmth and insulation in cold weather conditions.

– Tamara

April 5, 2023 by Tamara Nash 0 Comments

Are Inflatable Kayaks Safe Or Dangerous?

Whilst they are great portable options, a common question many as is: are inflatable kayaks safe? You should consider many factors when buying an inflatable kayak, which we’ll explore today.

Unlike standard kayaks, inflatable kayaks are susceptible to various risks, like branches, rocks, uneven surfaces, and heat. 

Before purchasing, we will review all the must-have features of an inflatable kayak to ensure your safety and comfort. Unfortunately, cheaper options can be more expensive in the long run! 

(Related: Ultimate Guide To Kayaking With Kids).

Inflatable Kayak Safety.

Inflatable kayaks are safe to use in a wide range of water conditions. They have passed numerous safety and regulatory tests to be used as intended. 

You may be surprised to learn that inflatable kayaks are not soft pool toys and can withstand harsh conditions. Accidents can still occur if you’re an inexperienced kayaker or if unforeseen equipment malfunctions arise, but this can be true for any water sport.

Inflatable kayaks have been on the market for some time but have risen in popularity since 2023 because they are safe, affordable, and easy to store. What’s not to love?

“Inflatable kayaks are less narrow than traditional kayaks, making them less likely to capsize! They’re also incredibly buoyant, which helps too.”

– Tamara, Whycos Editor

How Are Inflatable Kayaks Made?

It’s important to note the durability of your kayak. The materials and design will be entirely responsible for your safety in the water.  

Historically, kayaks were made from logs, animal skins, and tree bark. The wooden frames used in kayak manufacturing years agot were a significant disadvantage to kayakers for many reasons: 

Alternatively, a high-quality inflatable kayak will include:

  • CSM/Hypalon®: An ozone-resistant synthetic rubber 
  • PVC (Polyvinyl chloride): A synthetic polymer plastic 
  • Polyurethane-coated cloth: Also known as poly-coating.
  • Nitrylon: A hypalon-like fabric 

These materials contain polymers that increase the tear resistance of an inflatable boat, which also allows them to: 

  1. Endure the blunt force of sharp rocks without puncturing 
  2. Stay resistant to UV damage
  3. Maintain quality and strength over time

The contemporary materials used in manufacturing inflatable kayaks benefit the consumer, the producer and, at times, the environment. 

The high-performance factor of these newly-designed inflatable kayaks has also contributed to the sport’s surge in popularity in recent years. Reports show that 18.6 million people went kayaking last year in America! 

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Kids).

How Long Do Inflatable Kayaks Last?

Whilst inflatable kayaks may be more affordable than traditional options, a crucial factor is how long they will last.

Traditional kayaks bounce off tree branches and rocks without any issues. Instead, inflatable kayaks are designed with multiple air chambers and multi-layer construction. You might think that a puncture would make your inflatable kayak sink, but their many chambers minimise damage and keep you afloat in the event of a puncture. But they do require some additional maintenance. 

To keep your kayak functioning for years, you will need to ensure you do the following each time you use it:

  • Use a pressure gauge to ensure you do not overinflate the kayak
  • Clear dirt and debris out of the valves
  • Keep your kayak out of the sun 
  • Avoid leaving your kayak on hot surfaces like asphalt
  • Rinse and dry your kayak after use (before deflating)
  • Deflate your kayak before storing it
  • Roll or fold the deflated kayak differently each time to preserve the seams
  • Store in a cool, dry place

A well-looked-after kayak should last you on your adventures for five or more years! 

Are Inflatable Kayaks Stable?

The stability of a kayak is a result of its width. 

  • Kayaks are usually broad, especially around the midsection
  • Inflatable kayaks are narrow and feature large floating pontoons, which ensure the vessel is resistant to capsizing or rolling sideways.

It’s important to inflate your kayak to its recommended pound-per-square-inch (PSI) rating.

  • If you over-inflate your kayak, you risk damaging the seams and septums
  • An under-inflated kayak is at risk of sinking or deflation 

What If My Inflatable Kayak Is Punctured?

You might think that inflatable kayaks puncture easily, but unless you’re using them in places with sharp rocks, that’s very unlikely. Also, the good news is that a puncture won’t necessarily cause your inflatable kayak to sink.

Why is this the case? 

  • Modern inflatable kayaks have multiple air chambers (three or more: two installed on the sides and one on the floor).
  • In the event of a puncture, that air chamber will fill. Your remaining chambers will keep you afloat until you reach the shore.
  • High-end inflatable kayaks offer self-bailing drains. These holes in the seams will help to drain out water quickly. 

Most kayaks come with a patch kit that will allow you to immediately patch the leak and continue your day on the water. 

(Related: Can You Go On A Boat While Pregnant?)

Which Activities Are Safe For Inflatable Kayaks?

Inflatable kayaks support various activities, including recreational paddling on the lake, kayak adventure expeditions, fishing and whitewater kayaking.

There are many inflatable kayak types on the market, which vary in style and size. 

Options include: 

  • Low-capacity: These vinyl options are great for flatwater lakes, canals or bays. They also suit calm paddles on slow-moving rivers.
  • 10-12 foot kayak: These longer-length kayaks are more suitable for fishing as they are more stable, offer a large cargo capacity and include an elevated seat. 
  • Heavy-duty: You should opt for a top-range kayak with hypalon materials if you plan to whitewater kayak. These versions are much more resilient. 

Can Kids Use Inflatable Kayaks?

Kayaking is a great sport to introduce children to, allowing them to become confident on the water plus enjoy exploring nature. 

The great news is you don’t have to be a professional to operate an inflatable kayak. These are suitable options for children as the base is more stable.

Remember that a child cannot steer or manoeuvre a full-size kayak. You should opt for a child’s kayak or a tandem option until they are old enough (12+ years old) to operate solo. 

Safety Precautions When Using Inflatable Kayaks.

Like any water sport, you (and your kayaking buddies) must be across all the safety precautions, especially if you are exploring a new area. 

Our recommendations are: 

  1. Thoroughly inspect your kayak before setting out on the water 
  2. Confirm that you plug all valves securely
  3. Avoid dragging your kayak over gravel or rocks
  4. Transport your inflatable watercraft using a kayak cart, or carry it with the help of your paddling partner
  5. Travel with your kayak repair kit 
  6. Once assembled, take the kayak for a test paddle in shallow water 

Inflatable Kayaks vs. Hardshell Kayaks.

The ultimate question! In terms of safety, both an inflatable and regular hardshell kayak are safe. You will determine the best option for you by analysing the following: 

  • The type of kayaking you plan to do
  • Which water will you be adventuring on
  • How long will your trip last 
  • Who will be accompanying you

A summary of the pros and cons below may help you to decide!

Inflatable Kayak Pros:

  • Easy to transport
  • Cost-effective 
  • Convenient storage 
  • Stable and lighter to manoeuvre 

Inflatable Kayak Cons:

  • Susceptible to damage and punctures 
  • Require set-up and pack-down time
  • Must be cleaned adequately 
  • Challenging to steer in rough water

Hardshell Kayak Pros:

  • Easy to paddle 
  • Resilient to hard knocks and unforeseen damage 
  • Comfortable for long day trips
  • Zero set up required

Hardshell Kayak Cons:

  • More significant and more challenging to transport
  • Difficult to store 
  • Heavy to carry 
  • Not suitable for children 

Conclusion About Kayak Safety.

We can confirm that inflatable kayaks are safe and durable for your adventures. They suit a range of conditions and experience levels and can be a cost-effective option if you are a beginner. 

With any kayaking expedition, be sure to:

  • Become comfortable with the kayak before hitting the water
  • Study the water conditions and weather for your chosen day 
  • Have a contingency plan in the event of an accident 
  • Pack and prepare for all circumstances 
  • Carry a repair kit whilst kayaking

You can rest assured that current inflatable kayak options are high-quality and designed to meet national safety standards. All there is left to do is relax and enjoy yourself on the water!


February 6, 2023 by Tamara Nash 0 Comments

Is Kayaking Dangerous? 15 Risks & How To Avoid Them

Kayaking is a great outdoor activity for fitness and adventure, but many often worry, ‘is kayaking dangerous’? Like any sports activity, there are risks involved. The good news is – you can easily mitigate these with adequate planning.

Read on to uncover 15 risks of kayaking (and how to avoid them) so that you can enjoy a day on the water! 

1. Bad Weather Conditions.

Poor weather is something unfortunately out of our control.

Rain and wind pose significant challenges for even the most experienced kayakers. Storms can mainly take those undertaking outdoor activities by surprise, so be sure to check ahead of embarking. 

You should check the following: 

  • Potential rainfall.
  • Temperature.
  • Wind speed and direction.

Remember, you can change or adjust plans to get the most out of your kayaking day. For a guide on how to read the weather report, check here

2. Falling Into The Water.

The most common concern for new kayakers is the fear of falling into the water. For experienced kayakers – we’ve all been there! Capsizing is expected and happens to many of us from time to time. 

The situation becomes more dangerous if:

  • The water current is strong.
  • Your swimming skills are not strong.
  • You are without a life jacket.

Our tips to avoid capsizing are to: 

  1. Kayak in calm, gentle waters.
  2. Be sure you are aware of the terrain (Ie. no surprise underwater boulders to throw you off course). 
  3. Wear a life jacket – in some states, not wearing one can lead to legal penalties (how to choose the best life jacket?)
  4. Brush up on your swimming skills. If you don’t know how to swim, consider staying close to shore or kayaking in shallow waters. 

(Related: 10 Benefits Of Swimming For Kids).

3. Sunburn.

Sunburn… one of the most common summer concerns in the United States!

Spending so much time on the water means you will have a lot of exposure to UV rays with little shade. Sunburn isn’t just uncomfortable and painful; we know the associated skin cancer risks.

With any outdoor activity, please ensure that you: 

  1. Use a waterproof sunscreen – 30 SPF minimum, but ideally 50 SPF.
  2. Wear a hat or cap to protect your face.
  3. Opt for long-sleeved shirts or a rash shirt to protect your arms. 

(Related: Everything You Need To Know About Kids’ Life Jackets).

4. Hypothermia.

On the other end of the spectrum, hypothermia is an added risk for those extreme kayakers who enjoy icy conditions.

Hypothermia is characterised by your body temperature dropping dangerously low, which can happen if you fall into freezing water. 

It’s best to avoid kayaking in icy waters. If you do:

  1. Wear a dry suit with water-resistant fabric to prevent hypothermia.
  2. Layer quick-dry clothing and fleece beneath the dry suit for more warmth and protection.
  3. Kayak with someone so that they can support you in the event of an accident.

(Related: How Old Do Kids Have To Be To Kayak Alone?)

5. Hyperthermia.

The opposite of hypothermia is hyperthermia. It occurs when your body can’t regulate itself and overheats, which can quickly happen in hot and dry climates.

A lack of drinking water often exacerbates hyperthermia.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are also genuine dangers when kayaking in summer. To prevent this: 

  1. Wear breathable cotton clothing to keep you cool.
  2. Wear a wide-brim hat.
  3. Drink plenty of water, plus bring drinks in a cooler.
  4. Take regular breaks.
  5. Seek shade to rest if you begin to feel hot.

(Related: How To Prevent Your Child From Drowning).

5. Dehydration.

You can suffer from dehydration regardless of the weather. 

Drinking water is critical – ensure you have multiple bottles for a day trip, or opt for a CamelBak. 

Expert Tip: Avoid coffee and energy drinks before your trip. Why? These drinks are diuretics meaning they remove water from the bloodstream and can lead to dehydration faster. 

6. Going Above Your Limit.

Inexperience can be a real danger in adventure sports. Many kayakers venture into waters above their skill levels and end up in challenging or dangerous situations.

Rivers around the world have classifications under the International Scale of River Difficulty

  • Class I Rapids have small waves, limited obstructions, and require little training.
  • Class II Rapids are novice-level channels with some relatively easy-to-maneuver obstructions.
  • Class III or Intermediate rapids have more irregular waves and obstructions requiring maneuverability. 
  • Class IV or Advanced rapids require skill and experience to maneuver unpredictable waters with obstructions.
  • Class V rapids are for experts and typically involve violent, erratic water movement with many obstructions. 
  • Class VI extreme rapids are extremely rare because they are dangerous and require exceptional skill, experience, and scouting.

We suggest you start with the most manageable rivers or streams and only venture into more difficult rapids when ready. 

Expert Tip: Have an action plan for getting stuck in a rapid. Watch further tips here.

7. Getting Separated From Your Buddies.

If you’re kayaking in a group of several boats, getting separated from the other kayakers in your group can be alarming. 

To prevent this: 

  • Have a whistle to alert your group when you are close by.
  • In the event that you can’t use your mobile phone (no service), consider walkie-talkies.
  • Be sure to check the mobile coverage in areas you visit prior, so you know how to prepare for the worst.

8. Getting Lost.

Speaking of, it’s easy to become lost on a group or solo kayaking adventure, which is more common when exploring new locations. 

For most situations, it all comes down to planning. Before your expedition: 

  1. Maps: Obtain a physical map of the rivers and keep it in a waterproof plastic bag or case.
  2. Apps: Download a navigational app for kayaking or camping. 
  3. Compass: Your phone might have a compass, but it’s worth buying a physical one if it stops working or the battery dies.
  4. Batteries: Carry 1-2 power banks to recharge your phone when necessary. 

All these tips allow you to contact someone if you are lost. If you cannot, find the nearest road to seek assistance. Read more life-saving tips here. 

9. Strainers And Sweepers.

Have you heard of strainers and sweepers? These are two standard encounters you may come up against on waterways. 

  1. Sweeper: This is a bunch of low-hanging branches from a tree that will sweep you out of the boat.
  2. Strainer: This an obstacle in the river, such as fallen branches, a tree growing underwater, or a metal grate that allows water to pass through but not objects. 

It is challenging to spot strainers and sweepers ahead of time. You and your kayaking partner should always be on the lookout – particularly at river bends. 

If you see one: 

  • Paddle around it.
  • Consider stalling the kayak in the water before paddling backward to avoid it
  • Paddle to shore and carry your kayak past the filter to prevent it.

10. Wildlife.

An incredible benefit of kayaking is the connection to nature and the calm that comes with being in the wilderness. 

You will likely encounter various forms of wildlife when on a kayaking trip, especially if you are hiking or camping. While most are harmless, it’s essential to respect their environment. 

You should prepare for dangerous animals such as bears, snakes, and even sharks (if you are kayaking in the ocean).

Our tips: 

  • Carry bear spray with you if camping.
  • Avoid leaving food around your campsite.
  • Don’t kayak in deep waters where sharks are common 
  • Stay on well-trodden trails to avoid snakes. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings and know how to identify venomous snakes

In the event of an emergency, consider packing flares and having emergency SOS features enabled on your phone. Discuss the plan for this with your kayaking partner before you embark.

11. Punctures.

Most boats can withstand all sorts of water conditions. Kayaks are built with sturdy materials to encounter unforeseen issues.

The problem arises with a lower-quality kayak that can break or puncture if you are kayaking in rocky waters. 

We recommend that you: 

  • Buy a high-quality boat that is ideal for the water conditions you will regularly be in.
  • Consider inflatable whitewater kayaks. Opt for one with several air chambers, ensuring you stay afloat if one gets punctured. 
  • Ensure your paddle is sturdy and built from rigid plastic and steel.

12. Exhaustion.

Exhaustion is common in many adventure sports, particularly those that factor in outdoor conditions!

Exhaustion is common when: 

  • You kayak for extended periods (all day).
  • The weather is hot and humid.
  • You are dehydrated or sustain sunburn.

To combat this, ensure you: 

  1. Sleep: Prioritise a good night’s sleep before going on a kayak trip.
  2. Nutrition: Eat a high-carb, high-fibre meal the night before embarking. Consider packing snacks high in natural sources of fat (like dates) or energy bars and sugar gels for longer trips. For tips on sports nutrition (from dietitians), read here.
  3. Water: Stick to drinking water or isotonic drinks to keep hydrated. Avoid sugary drinks and caffeine, which can cause dramatic drops in your blood sugar. 

13. Muscle Strains And Pains.

If you’re not used to kayaking, feeling muscle aches, strains, and other pains is normal after a long day on the water.

Don’t be concerned if your whole body is sore after your trip! It’s normal. You likely haven’t used many of those muscles so rigorously in years (or ever). To ease this: 

  1. Use a muscle cream: Consider Magnesium sprays or Deep Heat as part of your pack to rub onto achy muscles whilst out for the day. 
  2. Opt for Magnesium supplements: These speed muscle repair and can be found at all significant chemists and retailers. Be sure to choose one with a high therapeutic dose of Magnesium. 

We suggest planning shorter trips at first to get your body used to kayaking and increase the length of your travels in small increments. 

You can also add weight training in the gym (upper body) to prepare your body for complex conditions. You can find an excellent guide here. 

14. Other Boats.

Other boats (huge ones) can pose a risk to single kayakers.

Be aware that you have to share the waterways with others. You should: 

  1. Plan –  In advance, check the waterways and prepare for the type of other boats.
  2. Adapt – When kayaking, be on the watch for other boats and try to steer clear of them.

You never know how experienced the other boaters you see are, so always leave plenty of space between you and them and watch out at bends to avoid collisions. 

15. Waves, Currents, And Eddies.

Getting stuck in a current or caught in a wave is the most concerning of all risks. It can come from nowhere and throw off even the most experienced kayakers.

Eddies also pose a significant danger. These occur when there is an obstruction causing the water to flow in the opposite direction of the current. 

It’s easy to flip when crossing the eddyline, so learn how to navigate them. The good news is that when approached currently, eddies can provide a spot for resting mid-kayak.

Be sure to angle your boat at a 45-degree angle to the eddyline when entering. 

Our best tips to avoid waves, currents and eddies: 

  1. Stick to waterways suitable for your skill level. 
  2. Take a kayaking buddy to assist you in the event of an accident 
  3. Monitor the weather conditions and currents.
  4. Speak to locals (and those who have kayaked before) for tips on the specific location.

(Related: Can You Go Boating While Pregnant?)

Final Word On Dangers Of Kayaking.

Kayaking can be incredibly rewarding, physically challenging and fun to undertake either solo or with friends and family.

By adequately preparing, being aware of risks and taking proper safety measures, you can ensure you will enjoy your day on the water.

Always wear a life jacket, check the conditions, pack sunscreen and water, and stick to safe waters. Have fun! 


January 15, 2023 by Tamara Nash 0 Comments

Are Puddle Jumpers Approved For Boating By The Coast Guard?

Did you know that the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is responsible for boating safety in the United States and its territories? USCG sets standards for testing and approving certain boats and boat equipment.

One type of boating safety gear that you may be wondering about is the so-called “puddle jumper”. Puddle jumpers are also sometimes called “pool noodles” or “floaties”.

What Is A Puddle Jumper?

Puddle jumpers are hybrid devices that combine the features of a life vest and a swim aid. They are designed to keep your child safe in and around the water.

To operate, your child must slip their arms through an arm float on each side. The device is then buckled behind the back to secure it.

Puddle jumpers can be very helpful for kids who are not strong swimmers or who may be prone to getting tired quickly when swimming.

(Related: Best Floaties For One and Two Year-Old Toddlers).

Are Puddle Jumpers US Coast Guard Approved?

Puddle jumpers are considered Type III personal flotation devices (PFDs) by the United States Coast Guard.

This means that they are designed to keep a wearer’s head above water in the event of a fall overboard. They are not, however, intended to turn an unconscious person face-up in the water.

For this reason, it is important to make sure that your child is supervised at all times while wearing a puddle jumper – especially if they are not a strong swimmer.

Puddle jumpers are not intended for use by infants or very small children. The US Coast Guard recommends that puddle jumpers only be used by kids who weigh more than 30 pounds and who are at least 4 years old.

(Related: Bringing Babies On A Boat: Is It A Good Idea?)

Are Puddle Jumpers Safe For Boating?

Yes, but puddle jumpers should only be worn while the boat is anchored or moored. They should not be worn while the boat is underway.

This is because puddle jumpers can make it more difficult for a child to swim if they fall overboard. They can also impede a child’s ability to climb back into the boat.

If you are planning on having your child wear a puddle jumper while boating, be sure to also have a properly fitting life jacket on board for each child – just in case.

(Related: Can You Go On A Boat While Pregnant?)

What Is The Main Benefit Of Puddle Jumpers?

Unlike arm floaties or water wings, which are NOT Coast Guard approved, puddle jumpers are fully Type III certified. This means they will support the child’s upper body above water.

They are not recommended for rough waters or underway boats since they will not turn unconscious children face up.

(Related: 10 Best Baby Floats).

What Are The Dangers Of Puddle Jumpers?

Swimming technique is very important for efficient swimming, and puddle jumpers can cause children to develop ineffective swimming posture.

They subconsciously train children to be upright and vertical in the water- head up, feet down, arms out. This causes them to use more of a bicycling motion to kick under the water.

Puddle jumpers can also cause children to hold their breath while swimming instead of exhaling normally. This can lead to panic and respiratory distress if the child becomes tired or submerged in water.

Finally, puddle jumpers can give children a false sense of security and may encourage them to take unnecessary risks in and around the water.

So, while puddle jumpers can be helpful in keeping your child safe, it is important to use them properly and never leave your child unattended while wearing one.

(Related: Top 10 Benefits Of Swimming For Kids).

Life Vests vs Puddle Jumpers: What’s Better?

Puddle jumpers are more effective at keeping your kid’s chin out of the water than a regular life jacket. They are also more comfortable for kids to wear since they don’t ride up like a life jacket can.

However, puddle jumpers are not intended for use by infants or very small children.

The US Coast Guard recommends that puddle jumpers only be used by kids who weigh more than 30 pounds and are at least 4 years old.

Puddle jumpers are also not intended to turn an unconscious person face-up in the water. For this reason, the Coast Guard recommends that you put your child into a Type II life vest once the boat is underway.

What Is Better Than A Puddle Jumper?

A life vest is technically better than a puddle jumper because it will turn an unconscious child face-up in the water. That said, it’s a lot less comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time.


January 6, 2023 by Tamara Nash 0 Comments

How To Teach Kids To Swim (Without Stress)

Learning how to swim is a valuable life skill for children. Swimming lessons accelerate a child’s cognitive and physical development while building stronger social bonds with their parents and peers.

It is essential to introduce your child to swimming as early as possible.

Children as young as six months can begin swimming lessons, but you should assess your child’s development and health or physical limitations. Most kids start at a young age, around three or four.

This article will cover:

  • Must-know safety tips.
  • Basic swimming skills.
  • Different types of strokes you can explore with your kids.

Get ready to make a splash!

Water Safety Is Your First Priority. 

Let’s dive into safety practices that children and adults should adhere to when in and around the pool.

  1. Never leave your children unattended near water, even if they can swim. Accidents can quickly happen.
  2. Teach children basic safety rules, like no running near the pool or diving into shallow water.
  3. Ensure they wear a life jacket or other flotation device when necessary or in unpredictable water conditions.
  4. Check the depth of the water before allowing your children to swim.
  5. Ensure the swimming area is clean and debris-free to avoid injury or illnesses.
  6. Use a waterproof nappy if your toddler is not yet toilet trained.
  7. Check the forecast and water conditions before swimming in natural waters.
  8. Register your child to partake in a weekly swim lesson. You can organise this for them solo or in group lessons with friends!
  9. Ensure your swimming pool is properly secured with a fence and gate to keep children out when not in use.
  10. Take a first aid class. Learning CPR will add an extra safety level if you swim at home with kids or in an area without a lifeguard.

There are regulations around pool safety in the US to keep children safe. Be sure you adhere to these in your home and any homes you visit for a pool day. 

(Related: Best Kiddie Swimming Pools For Summer).

Start Swimming Lessons At An Early Age.

The safest way to introduce a child to swimming is through a certified swimming instructor.

However, if you strongly understand swimming safety rules, you can deliver swim lessons to your child yourself in a safe environment like a local pool. Local pools will have lifeguards on duty for extra precaution.  

Here are our tips on how to teach kids to swim: 

1. Make Your Kid Comfortable The The Water.

Many children have anxiety around swimming, often from fear of the unknown. To minimise nerves, we recommend the following: 

  • Explaining the importance of swimming as a skill and how it can be fun.
  • Running through safety tips (our list above) and discussing these with your kids.
  • Answer any questions they have about how breathing and swimming works.
  • Start by floating around the pool with your kids on their backs. Or, sit together in shallow water and have fun splashing around.

The more confident and comfortable your child is in water, the more quickly they can learn proper swimming techniques. They should see swimming as fun and explorative! 

2. Teach Them How To Breathe Properly.

Breath control practices are imperative for children to avoid swallowing water and panicking while learning to swim.

You can start by teaching your kid to blow bubbles in the water using their mouth and nose.

You can also practise with them by: 

  • Having your child hold their breath whilst you dunk their head underwater quickly.
  • Allow them to inhale and exhale for a few seconds above water to learn about buoyancy.
  • Show them how to hold their breath underwater for a count of three-five.
  • Ask them to take a deep breath, lower their heads until their mouth is submerged underwater, and slowly exhale the full breath. You can do this at the same time as them. 

3. Incorporate Basic Movement.

Once your child is comfortable in the water and has a basic understanding of breathing and safety, it’s time to start teaching them physical movements.

For new swimmers, the best way to start is by learning how both the arms and legs work together to keep one afloat. 

This will teach them basic aquatic locomotive skills and physical and developmental abilities. You can: 

  • Verbally explain how the movements work out of water.
  • Physically demonstrate how to move in the water.
  • Have the younger children practice the action on land.
  • Once in the water, hold them up and allow them to feel what it is like to move their arms and legs. 

Many toddlers will need to practise more advanced movements. However, they mustn’t become reliant on these. For infants, ensure you support their heads to stay above water at all times. 

Leg Movements.

The first activity for all beginners is to practise kicking their legs. There are multiple ways to do this: 

  • Floating: To begin with, you can support your kids to float on their backs whilst they experiment with kicking their legs. 
  • Controlled kicks: You can advance to these as an excellent way for your child to focus on the strength of kicking. You will hold them up on their tummy whilst they do this.
  • Treading water: Practising kicking legs to tread water is a necessary step. To begin with, kids can hold on to the pool wall before trying in deeper water. 
  • Flutter kicks: Utilised by most swimming strokes, these are important to learn. Watch here. 
  • Dolphin kicks: These are advanced kicking styles common in butterfly strokes. They can be fun to practise. 

Arm Movements.

Once children are comfortable kicking, the next step is to learn how to move their arms.

The goal is to develop your child’s coordination and strength to push through the water. We recommend starting with freestyle before learning any other strokes. 

  • Arm position: To begin with, instruct your kids on how to position their hands and fingers. They should relax their hands with a bit of space between their fingers (not closed fingers or spread apart).
  • Strokes: Start with basic arm movements, such as reaching out in front and pulling back one arm at a time. You can hold your child on their back or tummy whilst they practise this. Once confident, incorporate breathing techniques. 
  • Monkeys on the wall: This is a fun game that develops grip and arm strength. 

You can also practise essential tasks like: 

  • Jumping into the water from the side of the pool 
  • Diving (always check pool depth) 
  • Turning around whilst swimming
  • Pushing off the pool wall
  • Climbing out of the pool 

(Related: Best Above Ground Pools For Your Home).

4. Put It All Together With Strokes. 

Once your children have learnt the basics of: 

  • Floating.
  • Treading water.
  • Kicking.
  • Arm movements.
  • Breathing.
  • Entering and exiting the pool.

It’s time to start exploring strokes! Please note that no timeline suits every child; some are more confident than others, and the above steps can be a multiple-month process depending on the frequency of lessons. 

  1. Begin assisted: You should support your child’s body weight in the water while they practise moving their arms and legs together. Typically, the first stroke taught is breaststroke.
  2. Timed breaths: First, your child will breathe when they think they need to. As their confidence grows, teach them how to breathe in time with a specific amount of strokes.

Swimmers are typically taught to breathe every three strokes. However, many children will begin their freestyle journey breathing on the same side (every two strokes) until their breath capacity strengthens. 

(Related: How To Choose A Life Jacket For Your Child).

Slowly Introduce Advanced Swimming Skills.

While your kids build up their strength and confidence in the water, you can begin to introduce different types of strokes.

1. Breaststroke.

As mentioned, the breaststroke is typically the first and the most effortless stroke for new learners as it allows the children to keep their heads above water. 

The breaststroke supports children to focus more on their arm and leg movements without having any anxiety about breathing or being unable to see where they are going.

2. Backstroke.

The backstroke is another common starting point for many beginners. It is a little more complex as children cannot see where they are going. However, you can explain the reference points of the lanes in a swimming pool.

The great news is kids can keep their heads above water here, too, with no pressure to perfect their breathing.

3. Front Crawl.

The front crawl is a wonderful stroke for learners because it allows them to practice timing their breathing in and out of the water with their arm and leg movements. 

Whilst it is a slightly faster-paced stroke, it can build a child’s coordination and confidence in the water. 

4. Butterfly.

The butterfly stroke is the most advanced and complicated stroke to learn. It requires coordination, strength, and breath control to execute well. 

Not only do children have to learn how to move their arms in unison, but they need strength and coordination to kick at the same time and propel themselves forward.

We recommend only teaching butterfly to advanced swimmers. It can be a fun and exciting challenge once kids have mastered other strokes and fitness.

Encourage Swimming And Water Safety.

Swimming is a crucial survival skill for young children to learn. But it can also be fun! It’s a great bonding experience and an excellent tool to build explorative skills and fitness.

First and foremost, you and your child should understand water safety before diving in. Once they are confident playing in shallow water, entering and exiting the pool, and floating, you can move on to more advanced breathing skills, kicking, diving, and strokes.

Watching your kids gain confidence and progress in their skills is exciting. Be sure to be patient and encourage them throughout the process. You never know; you could have a future world champion on your hands! Good luck and happy swimming.


November 5, 2022 by Tamara Nash 0 Comments

7 Best Places To Buy Life Jackets For Young Kids

It’s almost summertime, and that means it’s time for swimming! But before taking the plunge, ensure your kids are safe with a life jacket.

If you’re a new parent, you may be confused about choosing the best place to buy life jackets that are USCG-approved, inexpensive and durable.

Here are seven of the best life jacket retailers and their pros and cons.

Once you get to the store, you must know which life jacket to choose. Be sure to scroll to the very bottom of this article, where I provide tips on choosing the safest life jacket for your child. I’ll tell you how to test your life jacket for buoyancy, size and type.

(Related: Top 10 Benefits Of Swimming For Kids).

1. Amazon

Amazon is one of the best places to buy a life jacket for your child. They have a wide selection of recreational life jackets for all different ages, sizes, and budgets.

All of the life jackets sold on Amazon are required to meet strict Coast Guard standards. This means that you can be confident that the life jacket you purchase will keep your child safe in the water.

Plus, you can read customer reviews to see what other parents think of the product before you buy it.

This is a great way to ensure you get a high-quality life jacket that will keep your child safe in the water.


  • Huge selection of life vests to choose from
  • Same-day delivery for Amazon Prime customers
  • The convenience of online shopping
  • Meets strict safety standards
  • Inexpensive
  • Can read customer reviews before purchasing


  • Can’t see the jacket before purchasing

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Kids).

2. Walmart

If you want to see a life vest before purchasing it, go to Walmart. With 4800 Walmarts across the United States of America, there’s probably one a very short drive from you.

Walmart clearance markdowns typically happen during the first five days of each month, and you’ll be able to get a good deal if you time your shopping trip nicely.

Pro Tip: life jacket reviews are posted on the Walmart website, making it easy to research before you drive to the store.


  • Life jackets are available at a variety of prices
  • Life jackets for waters sports, boating, paddling and leisure
  • You can try on the life jacket before you buy it
  • Hundreds of Walmart stores across the United States


  • The life jacket selection at Walmart may be limited, depending on the time of year

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Toddlers).

3. Target

Don’t like going to Walmart? I get it. It doesn’t exactly represent the pinnacle of the shopping experience.

In contrast, Target offers a more friendly atmosphere without compromising on rock-bottom prices.

You can get USCG-approved life jackets and life vests while listening to the least bad supermarket background music. Seriously, Target’s music is not at all terrible.


  • You can purchase a kids’ life jacket starting at just $15.99
  • Free two-day shipping is available on many items
  • There are 1,850 Target stores across the United States for easy shopping.


  • The life jacket selection at Target may be limited, depending on the time of year
  • Some life jackets at Target are more expensive than those found at Walmart

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Infants).

4. Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dick’s started out as a bait and tackle shop, but today it carries a large assortment of water sports and outdoors-related gear and apparel, both online and in stores across the United States.

This makes Dick’s a great place to buy a life jacket for your child because you can find everything you need for a day at the lake or beach all in one place.


  • Can find everything you need for a day out on the water in one place
  • Product reviews are shared directly on their website.
  • Shipping charges are calculated by weight, and standard shipping time is typically 2-5 business days.


  • You may need to drive a little longer to find one

6. REI

REI is not a sports shop. It’s a shrine to the great outdoors, and as such, they have every conceivable item you could need to enjoy your time in nature.

This includes a wide variety of life jackets for both kids and adults. No matter what type of water activity you’re planning on doing, REI will have a life jacket that’s perfect for you.


  • Wide selection of life jackets for all types of activities
  • Helpful and knowledgeable staff
  • Great prices


  • Can be overwhelming to try and figure out what you need

7. Cabela’s

Cabela’s has retail stores in the USA and Canada. They have a wide selection of life jackets that are often on sale just before summer. Plus, Cabela’sClub members get free shipping on orders over $50.


  • Wide selection of life jackets
  • Inexpensive
  • Cabela’s Club members get free shipping on orders over $50.


  • Stores are not located in all states/provinces
  • Shipping can take longer than some other retailers

What Is The Safest Life Jacket For A Child?

Child safety is of utmost importance when it comes to choosing a life jacket.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a life jacket for a child, such as their weight and height, the type of water activity they’ll be participating in, and the environment they’ll be in.

When it comes to weight and height, it’s important to choose a life jacket that fits snugly and doesn’t leave any room for movement. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has strict guidelines on what size life jacket a child needs, so be sure to check their website before making a purchase.

As for the type of water activity, some life jackets are better suited for certain activities than others.

For example, there are life jackets designed specifically for jet skiing or wakeboarding that have extra padding to protect the user from impact.

Finally, the environment is an important factor to consider. If you’re planning on taking your child out on a boat, it’s important to choose a life jacket that will keep them warm in case they fall overboard.

Are Puddle Jumpers Better Than Life Jackets?

Parents get confused about the differences between puddle jumpers and life jackets all the time.

Puddle jumpers are technically considered life jackets, but they’re not meant for use in open water or for any type of extended swimming.

Puddle jumpers are designed for use in pools and other enclosed bodies of water where there’s little to no risk of falling into deep water.

(Related: Best Above Ground Pools For Your Home).

They typically have less buoyancy than traditional life jackets, and they don’t have any straps or other safety features that would keep a child’s head above water if they did fall into deep water.

So, are puddle jumpers better than life jackets? It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re only planning on taking your child to the pool or other enclosed body of water, then a puddle jumper is a perfectly acceptable option.

However, if you’re planning on taking your child to the beach, lake, or river, it’s important to choose a life jacket that will keep them safe in case they do fall into deep water.

Do Life Jackets Help Kids Learn To Swim?

Teaching your kid to swim can be a lengthy process. You might think that since they’re wearing a life jacket, it’ll speed up the learning process. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Life jackets are designed for safety, not for swimming.

They’re meant to keep your child afloat in case of an accident, but they won’t help them learn how to swim. In fact, some life jackets can actually hinder the learning process because they give the child a false sense of security.

If you’re teaching your child to swim, it’s important to remove the life jacket and have them swim without it. This will help them learn how to properly use their arms and legs, and it’ll give you a chance to see how well they’re progressing.

Of course, you should always supervise your child when they’re in the water, regardless of whether or not they’re wearing a life jacket.

All the best,


November 5, 2022 by Tamara Nash 0 Comments

7 Best Water Games For The Lake

Summertime means one thing for a lot of people: time spent at the lake. Whether you’re swimming, sunbathing, or simply enjoying the view, the lake is a great place to spend a hot summer day.

If you want to make your visit even more fun, why not try some water lake games? Here are nine of the best water games for the lake that are sure to make a splash.

(Related: 13 Best Floating Lake Mats).

5 Lake Games That Require You To Get Into The Water.

You’ll need to jump into the lake in order to play the following five games. And to have the most fun, you’ll need at least four players!

1. Marco Polo.

Lake game for ages 5+

Think of this classic game as an aquatic version of tag (hint: you can also play it in your backyard swimming pool).

One person is “it” and closes their eyes while everyone else swims away. When the “it” player calls out “Marco”, everyone else has to answer “Polo”. The “it” player must rely on their hearing to locate the other players and tag them.

Once the “it” player tags someone, he or she becomes the “it” player for the next round.


  • Family fun for both adults and kids.
  • No equipment is necessary.


  • You need a large group of players to have the most fun.

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Toddlers).

2. Chicken Fight.

Water game for ages 5+

This is one of the best water games for the lake, and is so much fun when you have players who are competitive.

Two people team up and get on each other’s shoulders, forming a human chicken. The water must be shallow enough for the standing team member to have their shoulders out of the water.

The goal is to knock other teams’ chickens off their feet. This an be done by pushing them, splashing water in their faces, or anything else you can think of. The last team standing is the winner!


  • Hilarious to watch.
  • Great for competing family vs family.


  • Not so great if you don’t have a sense of humor.
  • Need a minimum of four people.

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Kids).

3. Splash Ball.

Water game for ages 5+

This is one of the most popular water games for the lake, and it’s easy to see why. It’s similar to volleyball, but played in the water with a beach ball.

Set up a net in the shallows and have players form teams of two or three people. The object of the game is to keep the ball from touching your side of the net, similar to volleyball.

The catch is that players can only use their hands to splash the ball over the net.


  • It’s a great cardio workout.
  • You can play with a large group of people.


  • You need a beach ball and a net.

(Related: Best Life Jackets For Infants).

4. Simon Says.

Water game for ages 4+

This water game is less physical than others, so it can include younger kids.

One person is “it” and gives commands to the group, such as “Simon says touch your toes”, “Simon says splash water in the air”.

The group must only do the action if it starts with “Simon says”. If someone does the action without hearing “Simon says”, then they’re out.


  • Great for young kids.
  • Easy to learn and play.


  • Not so great for older kids or adults.
  • Simon can get bossy!

(Related: Are Puddle Jumpers US Coast Guard Approved?)

5. Atomic Whirlpool.

Water game for ages 5+

This is one of the most unique water games for the lake.

Everyone starts in a circle. Slowly walk around the circle in the same direction. Once you start walking, begin to go faster and faster until everyone is running in the water.

A whirlpool will form and your kids will notice that they’re being pulled off the ground and into the center.

When the water starts to really move, everyone turns and runs in the other direction. Chaos ensues. The last person to stay on their feet wins!


  • So much fun to watch.
  • Great for wearing kids out.


  • Not for those who get dizzy easily!
  • Need a large number of kids to play.

(Related: Best Floaties For One and Two Year-Old Toddlers).

2 Lake Games That You Can Play From The Shore.

Unlike the previous five games, these ones don’t require you to get into the water. You’ll be sure to cool off, even if you don’t feel like swimming.

1. Water Balloon Toss.

Lake shore game for ages 5+

This game is suitable for both kids and adults. Fill up water balloons and line players up in teams of two, facing each other.

Make the players take one step back from one another.

The first team member then tosses the balloon to their partner, who must catch it without popping it. Teams that pop their balloons are out, while the remaining teams must take another step back and throw again!


  • The game doesn’t require you to get into the lake


  • You need a lot of water balloons

(Related: 10 Best Baby Floats).

2. Water Bomb Tag.

Lakeshore game for ages 5+

This is one of my favourite water games for the lake, because it never fails to create an overwhelming amount of excitement. Before playing fill up at least 50 water balloons with water.

Next, create a boundary area at the edge of the lake (once the game begins, players aren’t allowed to run outside the boundary of that area).

Designate an “it” person and arm the with a few water balloons. On “go” they must try to tag other players by throwing water ballons at them. Whoever gets tagged becomes the “it” player.


  • You don’t need to be in the water to play


  • You need A LOT of water balloons
  • Kids have to be of roughly the same age and weight

Frequently Asked Questions About Swimming In Lakes.

How can kids be safe when swimming in lakes?

There are a few things that parents can do to help keep their kids safe in the water:

1. Teach them to swim. This is the best way to prevent drowning.

2. Supervise them at all times. Don’t take your eyes off of them, even for a second.

3. Make sure they wear properly fitted life jackets. They should always wear a life jacket when they’re in a boat, and it’s also a good idea to have them wear one when they’re swimming in the lake.

4. Teach them about water safety. This includes things like not swimming alone, not going out too far, and not diving into shallow water.

Where are the best lakes in America?

There are many beautiful lakes in America, but some of the most popular ones include

  • Lake Tahoe in California.
  • Yellowstone Lake in Wyoming.
  • Crater Lake in Oregon.

Interesting Fact: What is the deepest lake in America? Crater Lake in Oregon is the deepest, with a depth of 1,949 feet (594 meters).

Which state has the cleanest lakes?

This is difficult to answer definitively as lakes can become polluted for many reasons, including agricultural runoff, urbanization and sewage treatment. However, some states that are considered to have clean lakes are

  • Alaska
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Wisconsin

Final Thoughts On Water Games For The Lake.

Water games for the lake can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to take precautions when swimming in lakes.

Make sure to teach your kids how to swim and supervise them closely. And always make sure they’re wearing life jackets! Thanks for reading!


October 5, 2022 by Tamara Nash 0 Comments

How Old Do Kids Have To Be To Kayak Alone?

Kayaking with children can be challenging, even more so when they are excited to explore independently. Whilst younger children should never kayak unsupervised, the good news is – tandem kayaks exist!

Kayaking is an activity that can strengthen your relationship, foster your child’s appreciation for nature, and allow your child to feel capable and confident. 

Read on to learn more about the proper age for children to kayak alone, plus our tips to ensure you and your child feel safe on the water!

(Related: Is Kayaking Dangerous?)

At What Age Can Kids Kayak Alone?

Most companies state that children can kayak as young as six.

If your child has experience swimming and kayaking, there is less concern. There should still always be an adult present to assist in the event of an accident. 

If your child is older than ten, they may be ready to kayak alone for short distances in an area they are familiar with. You should ensure the following: 

  • Familiarity with the route.
  • Ability to follow instructions.
  • Calm water and air conditions.
  • Shallow waters.

Prioritising safety will allow your child to focus on paddling and enjoying the activity in a comfortable environment. Like anything, practice makes perfect!

It’s important to note that you know your child best. If they need more time and guidance to feel confident kayaking, there is no need to rush. 

What Do Kids Need To Kayak Alone?

Kids need the same safety precautions, and equipment adults need for kayaking, and a little more care, encouragement, and a watchful eye.

Your child should be equipped with the knowledge of what to do if the kayak tips over – most importantly, not to panic.

Make sure your children also have the below essentials before they’re allowed to tackle their kayak.

1. Life Jackets.

Life jackets are essential for child safety whenever in and around water.

These jackets: 

  1. Ensure your child will float in the event of the kayak tipping.
  2. Provide the child with a sense of safety and confidence.
  3. Show the child which way is up (if they fall into murky water).

Always ensure the life jacket sits correctly and remains tightly secured before taking off on your journey (explore the most recommended options for kids’ life jackets).

2. Spare Paddle.

Every kayaker should have a spare paddle ready, children especially.

While paddling, it’s common for children to lose their grip and drop their paddles into the water. 

An extra paddle will ensure your child isn’t stranded or stuck if they can’t get their paddle back. 

You can shop for paddles here.

3. Sun Hat.

A sun hat is a must on American waterways.

Not only does it prevent sunburn and keep your child cool, but it also allows them to see clearly without the sun in their eyes. You should also consider the following: 

  • Waterproof sunscreen reapplied every four hours (SPF 50+).
  • A rash vest or shirt.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Water shoes for grip and stability.

For US sun safety guides, please read here

4. Water.

Kayaking can exhaust energy – it is a sport, after all! It’s so essential for little ones not to become dehydrated or overheated when spending time outdoors. Our tips: 

  • Pack extra water in your child’s kayak.
  • Take frequent water breaks and encourage them to drink.
  • Pack a cooler bag with juice or other cold drinks.

Other tips for preventing heat stroke and exhaustion are here

5. Snacks.

Snacks are essential for your child’s energy throughout a day of kayaking. This type of strenuous effort requires regular carbohydrates and natural sources of fat to maintain energy.

You should add easy snacks to a day pack for your child to eat while sitting in a kayak.

We love trail mix. It’s a great option as it’s made of calorie-dense seeds, high-fat dates and nuts that will give your child an energy boost without needing utensils or excess packaging.

Other excellent options include: 

  • Crackers with cheese.
  • Apple slices and peanut butter.
  • Yoghurt pouches.
  • Veggie sticks and hummus.
  • Berries or a banana.
  • Granola bars.

Kayaking With Kids: Parent Tips.

Kayaking is a fun bonding experience, but it can often be challenging for both children and parents. 

The below tips will ensure your day of exploration on the water is fun. Remember to take kayaking slowly, choose familiar routes, and allow your child to learn from their mistakes without pressure.

1. Have Patience.

It can be easy to lose your cool with your child while kayaking. The added power of the elements can be stressful!

It’s crucial to model patience with children as they learn new skills.

It takes a lot to learn how to maneuver the kayak, find the strength to steer and look ahead for direction. The main takeaway is that if you’re having fun – they will be too. 

(Related: Are Inflatable Kayaks Safe?)

2. Take It Slow.

There will be plenty of time to explore challenging routes with faster water, which children can often be excited by.

However, it’s best to work up the courage and ability to handle rougher waters before embarking on that adventure. 

We recommend that you: 

  • Let your child get used to kayaking the same way you’d let yourself as a beginner. 
  • Focus on swimming skills outside of kayaking to feel confident in the water 
  • Remove time pressure. It may be years before your child can kayak confidently.

3. Choose Familiar Routes.

Choosing similar routes or rotating the same routes is the best option whilst your child learns.

This ensures your child:

  • Can familiarise your local area.
  • Will be aware of where to go for help if needed.
  • Have the focus to learn to paddle and maneuver without being distracted by their new surroundings.

Familiar routes can also help your child build fitness, improve their stroke technique, and have fun without worrying about where they are going.

Consider local lakes for learning before venturing into harbours or beaches.

(Related: Best Lake Water Games Your Kids Will Love).

4. Allow For Mistakes.

When learning a new skill, allowing your child to make mistakes without consequence is essential. 

Remember – children are beginners at everything and will make plenty of mistakes you may easily avoid as an adult.

Children will need to learn everything from how to step into their kayak, put on a life jacket, remove their kayak from the water and more.  

Your child may already have a hard time with self-criticism, so allow them to make their mistakes and gently redirect them to make the experience as positive as possible. It should be fun.

5. Encourage And Empower Your Child.

Consider using incentives for a job well done after you’ve finished kayaking.

Simple things like a family meal at their favourite restaurant can help them feel like they’ve achieved something substantial and have something to look forward to after a challenging task.

You should use encouraging words during the process to help motivate your child and support their emotional health and wellbeing. 

Final Thoughts About Kids Kayaking Alone.

As you can see, many factors come into play with children feeling confident and capable enough to kayak alone.

Ultimately, kids shouldn’t kayak alone if they aren’t familiar with the route or area or if they are without parental guidance.

If your child is familiar with kayaking and its route, they can experiment with kayaking in safe and shallow waters from the age of six and up. 

Regardless of age, please ensure your child always has an extra paddle, a life jacket, and water and sun protection.

With patience and practice, you and your child will be in for an unforgettable day bonding and exploring the water.