Boating With Babies: A Must-Have Checklist


Going to the lake this summer? Do you also have an infant and are not sure how boating with a baby would work?

We’ve got it all figured out for you! We recently took my (then 4 month old) daughter to Lake Thunderbird over Memorial Day weekend and it went smoother than expected (we were on the boat for 9 hours straight)!

Baby on a boat

Check out the list below for must-have items that will help your lake day go smoothly!

Boating with Babies Checklist:

  • Lifejacket– Any person under the age of 13 must be wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD (Personal Flotation Device) at all times when occupying a vessel under 26 feet. (The Handbook of Oklahoma Boating Laws and Responsibilities)
  • Swimsuit– If baby plans on swimming that is.
  • Lightweight Clothing– It is always good to wear lightweight clothing under lifejackets as they can be bulky which can in turn lead to sweating.
  • Extra Clothes– To change them into after swimming or in case of an accident.
  • Swim Diapers/Regular Diapers– Make sure to have both types of diapers. Use the swim diaper for swimming and the regular diapers for after.
    • *Don’t make my mistake and think swim diapers can be worn as regular diapers. Let me tell you, they cannot!
  • Wipes– It is always good to have wipes for not only their bottom but for their hands and face. Especially if you are feeding them on the boat!
  • Hat– If at all possible put the top up on the boat (if available) and always make sure they are wearing a hat to protect their sensitive heads from the hot Oklahoma sun. The last thing anyone wants is a burnt baby noggin!
  • Sunscreen– If your baby is older than 6 months (or younger if approved by your doctor), make sure you protect them with good, quality sunscreen. Even cloudy days and canopies can still let in harmful rays. 
  • 2 Muslin Blankets– One for laying baby on or covering up and one for dousing with water to keep baby cool. 
  • Bottles of Water– Even if baby is not drinking water make sure to have a few bottles for yourself and to drench a blanket with when it gets to be too hot.
  • Towel– Make sure to have a towel to dry baby off with if they do end up swimming.
  • Toys– Include toys to keep the little ones entertained while stuck in that bulky life vest!
  • Bottles– if you formula feed or would rather not nurse on the boat.
  • Snacks/Utensils– If your infant is eating solids or purees make sure to bring food (as well as a way to serve it) along to keep baby happy and entertained throughout the trip.
  • Travel Bed (optional)– This item is not totally needed but would be extremely helpful! The travel bed allows babies to lie down in their lifejackets while napping or playing (it tends to gets sweaty holding them for hours on end)!

Tips for Boating with Babies:

  • While out on the water, try visiting a marina which will allow the lifejacket to come off for a bit.
  • Use the time stopped along a bank or visiting a marina to nurse your little one before they drift back to sleep.
  • Try to avoid taking the lifejacket off baby while on the water as it is against the law. 

All in all, my daughter did fantastic. These were the must-have items to stay comfortable on the water all day. We only stopped a few times to run to the restroom were I took the opportunity to nurse and change my little one safely!

I hope these tips and tricks guide you on your next boating adventure. Let the water take you away happy and safe!

Have you taken an infant boating? What are some tips and tricks or must need items?




  1. I know this was 3 years ago but do you know the brand of the life jacket you had in your daughter?? I’m looking for one but can’t seem to find one small enough. Thanks!


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