Let me offer you five things to think about as you plan your day on the water. First of all, have an adventurous attitude! Don’t think about what you could be doing or get stuck in the mud feeling like you’re being forced to go. Before you go, start looking forward to it. See the day (or half-day) as an adventure. Talk it up! If its a family outing, talk it up with the kids. Get everybody looking forward to it. Here’s a little video that is sure to help!
Second, decide what you want to do. Fish? Cruise? Go somewhere for lunch? Swim? Then do some research. Is there a family favorite you want to head for. Is there a place you’ve never been. We tend to be creatures of habit – sit in the same seats, order the same meals. Try someplace different. This is an advantage of boat clubs. Freedom, for example, has 13 ports around Tampa Bay that you can drive to and reserve a boat. Each location has amazing things to do. Do the research. You don’t know what’s right around the corner. Leave room for the spontaneous. Resist the urge to over plan your day. Stay flexible – just have a list of possibilities and decide as a group. You definitely don’t want to be returning home after a 14 hour day where you completed your list!
Third, figure out what you need to pack. Don’t forget to bring water. It is easy to get dehydrated even on the water. Bring food, snacks and fun things to do. Don’t forget the sun tan lotion. The Florida sun is not to be fooled with even on a cloudy day! If you’re going fishing, there’s more to think about but that’s for another day. Click here if you want a primer now. Don’t forget to do some potty planning. For our family, a 5 gallon bucket with a snap-on potty seat ($5 from Amazon) has done the trick. Think safety as you prepare. Make sure your boat’s safety equipment is working. Make sure the boat is ready to go. Check it over before you head out to avoid problems.
Fourth, go and have a great time! Your list of possibilities won’t get completed. Keep everyone engaged and “carpe diem it” (seize the day) to the max! Have fun! Take pictures! Tell stories. Watch out for each other and make a memory. Don’t forget to fill your lungs with fresh air! It’ll be beautiful to be sure.
Finally, leave enough time to get home. You’ll have to leave while everyone is still having fun but you definitely don’t want to get home late, tired and exhausted from your “fun” day. Pull out your smart phone and download “Navionics” if you haven’t already. Don’t get the free version, pay the $9.95 and you’ll know right away that it is worth the investment. It wiill help you navigate wherever you decide to go. You can leave “bread crumbs” so you can easily find your way back home. Especially if you travel to a new place you haven’t been before, Navionics will always show you where you are and how to get home.
Now, go ahead, look at a calendar and figure out when you going on your next adventure!