Houseboating With Toddlers: Safety Tips and More

Preparing for your first houseboating expedition with a toddler in tow can feel a little overwhelming. How do you keep them safe? What do you need to pack in addition to your usual items? 


These are common questions to have, and luckily, we can answer them for you.


At Forever Houseboats, safety is our highest priority. Here are some tips on how to keep your toddler safe, what to bring, and how to keep them entertained on board.


What to bring:

  • Life jacket. The most important item to pack is your child’s life jacket. According to the USCG, life jackets must be Coast Guard approved, in good condition, and the appropriate size. Learn more by visiting

  • Sunscreen. You’ll want to protect your little ones (and your own) skin when you’re outside all day long in the sun. Opt for higher SPF to ensure better coverage.

  • Pack-n-play. A safe place to let your little one play on board is in a pack-n-play. Bring a couple of new toys and present it to them while they’re in there so they are entertained for a bit longer.

  • Snacks. As a parent, you know that snacks are an essential element to your child’s happiness. Bring extra yummy snacks that they aren’t typically allowed to eat on a regular basis and serve it up on the houseboat. This makes the trip even more memorable and gives them something to look forward to.

  • Water. Always keep a full insulated water bottle close by just for them. Proper hydration is the key to staying healthy onboard. 

  • Toys. Toddler-sized fishing poles, pool noodles, sand shovels and buckets, beach balls, and old bath toys are perfect for playing on and by the lake. 


Safety tips:

  • Always have your child wear their life jacket.

  • Don’t let them out of your sight, even for just a minute.

  • Assign “watch” duties where one person in the group is responsible for keeping an eye on the little one 100% of the time.

  • Encourage multiple water breaks throughout the day.

  • Designate a “safe-space” where they can play out of harm's way. 


Entertainment ideas:

  • Games. There are plenty of fun and interactive toddler-friendly games you can play with your little one, including Simon Says and hide-and-seek. 

  • Books. Pack some of their favorite books they like to read over and over again. This would also be a great time to include any books about boats.

  • Coloring books. You can’t go wrong with a stack of new coloring books to explore.

  • DVDs. All of our houseboats come equipped with TVs and DVD players for onboard entertainment. Bring your child’s favorite movie and pop it in for them when it’s time to wind down.


Houseboating with toddlers is a unique experience, one that you will cherish for a long time. The smiles on their faces when the wind blows through their hair, the sound of their laugh while they splash in the water and the long cuddles when they fall asleep in your arms after a full day of fun will replay over and over in your mind as you look back on your memorable vacation. 


If you have any questions about your upcoming trip, feel free to reach out to us online or by phone at 1-800-255-5561.