A pregnancy doesn’t have to stop your boating season – first mates expecting a baby can enjoy time on a boat with some precautions boating pregnant
If you are an avid boater that is ready to start having kids (or having another baby now as a boater), chances are you have thought about how to handle a pregnancy while boating. You may have even thought about trying to “plan it” around your boating season. Uh, good luck with that one!
It is true that being pregnant on a boat may slow you down a little, but you can still enjoy time on the water while waiting for your latest crew member to arrive. With a few extra precautions, along with some minor changes to your typical boating routine, boating while pregnant can be safe and still fun.
Safety Precautions for Boating While Expecting a Baby
How much boating time you can get in while being pregnant most likely depends on the size of your boat and how pregnant you will be during your boating season.
If you have a smaller boat, you’ll definitely want to slow it down and take it easy cruising. Hitting big wakes on the water in a small boat while pregnant can be uncomfortable for you and potentially dangerous to the baby. Taking the boat on short cruises at low speeds in no wake zones is probably more advisable. Consult your doctor about any special precautions you should take if you plan to cruise in a small boat.
If you have a bigger boat that easily handles wakes, such as 30 feet or bigger, then cruising while expecting is much easier. In fact, we took a 2 hour cruise in our 41 foot boat when I was 7 months pregnant with no issues at all. As you get closer to your due date the biggest concern is being too far away from your home marina if you go into labor – so plan boat trips earlier in your pregnancy to be on the safe side.
Some other basic safety precautions for pregnant boaters include:
- Stay hydrated in warm weather
- Avoid lifting heavy gear onto the boat
- Avoid walking on the bow when pregnancy weight makes you less stable
- Slow the boat down when approaching large wakes during cruises
- Stay close to your home marina as your due date approaches
Be sure to consult with your doctor about when you should stop traveling to your marina if the distance is too far if you go into labor. Most doctors recommend not traveling more than 1 hour away from home once you reach 36 weeks. This break from boating is the hardest part for boaters, but a good safety precaution as you go into your final weeks waiting for baby to arrive. After baby does arrive, there is no reason why you can’t return within a few weeks as long as you are physically up to it. Boating with a baby is very easy and safe with simple precautions.
Tips for Having Fun While Being Pregnant on a Boat
Just like most boaters, we thought we would try to plan the timing of a baby around boating season. We were ready for kids, but didn’t want having a kid to put too much of a cramp in our boating style. And as luck would have it, both of my pregnancies ended up being mid-summer babies. So I spent the first half of the summer pregnant on the boat, missed about 1 month on the water and then spent the last few months of the season with a newborn baby.
My biggest concern being pregnant on our boat was not having any fun. After all, boating is all about having fun on the water. I was afraid I would be too hot, uncomfortable and not be able to fully enjoy the boating lifestyle.
Here are some of my personal tips for keeping the fun factor in boating while being pregnant:
- Swim a lot. Staying cool at the marina pool or anchoring out in the water will keep you cool and feels great with the extra pregnancy weight.
- Anchor out close to your marina. Get away from the dock and plan to spend more time out on the water close to your marina. It is cooler, water feels great and you can get the “boating experience” without the concerns of cruising too far away.
- Make non-alcohol cocktails. Being the only one that can’t drink alcohol can be a real bummer boating. Make special fruit & yogurt smoothie drinks so you can share a cocktail with everyone else.
- Take it easy. If packing extra food for the weekend is too much work or stress, then plan to go out to eat or order food. If you’d rather go on a trip with your captain without extra boats and friends, then enjoy some quiet low-key time alone. Make your own rules to slow things down to your pace if needed instead of trying to keep up with your typical boating routine.
- Stay cool in the shade. Keep yourself as comfortable as possible while on the boat and out in the sun. A retractable canvas system for extending shade comfort on a boat is a convenient way to help keep you cool and comfortable while pregnant.
- Relax and have fun with it. Being pregnant is an exciting time – focus on the moments you can enjoy while boating and how much fun it will be to return later with your baby.
After your baby arrives, there is no reason why you can’t return to your boat as soon as you feel ready. With us, we were back on our boat with our newborn baby within 2 weeks of birth. I did it twice with 2 summer babies!
Boating with a baby is actually much easier with a small baby than a toddler that is learning to walk and get into trouble. Remember proper precautions for babies on boats – like infant life jackets, keeping baby cool and protected from the sun – and your new crew will be ready for your next boating adventure.