Sunshine, crashing waves and hands-on activities. These are three things every kid loves. That’s what makes deep sea fishing the perfect family outing. Especially during summer months when children can get bored, deep sea fishing makes for a wonderful time of togetherness, education and excitement.
Before you venture onto any vessel, you’ll want to run through the checklist below. Taking time to prepare before launching into the deep blue sea can ensure your trip will be a huge success.
No outing can be truly fun for everyone unless it is also safe. There are steps you can take to ensure you and your family will have a day of adventure as well as safety. Be sure to ask the captain of the boat about the following:
_____ Life Preservers – Make sure life preservers on the boat are current. Preservers need to be within easy reach. The boat should have a variety of life preservers in different sizes to fit both adults and children.
_____ Coast Guard Inspection – You’ll want a fishing vessel that is big and seaworthy, and that has passed all necessary inspections. Look for a U.S. Coast Guard safety inspection sticker to be sure. Also check for a radio and emergency beacon onboard.
_____ CPR – The crew aboard your deep-sea fishing boat should be CPR and first aid trained.
_____ Sun Protection – The sun gets very intense over water. In fact, you get 180% exposure to the sun while on the water as opposed to on land. (100% direct sun exposure plus 80% exposure from water reflection.) You’ll want to pack sunscreen as well as hats and sunglasses.
Your fishing experience will be different depending on which area of the U.S. you are in. Water temperature, local weather and current surface temperatures can all play a role in the success of your trip. While these elements may be out of your control, there are other elements you need to verify before casting off.
_____ Experience – Your captain and crew should have plenty of experience fishing in the local waters. They should be comfortable navigating the area and should be able to find sweet spots where fish commonly gather.
_____ Equipment – The boat you choose to sail on should be outfitted with the latest fish-finding electronics to help ensure you get what you came for.
_____ Bait – Bait used while fishing should be indigenous to the area. Fish can be finicky about what they will and will not eat.
_____ Unwanted Transfer – Be sure to wash your hands (or have the crew wash their hands) after applying sunscreen, aftershave or other scented lotions. The smell (and taste) can transfer to the bait causing the fish to stop biting.
When deep sea fishing with kids, special considerations come into play. Ask your crew about the following if you plan to bring young children onboard.
_____ Family Friendly – Is this a family friendly ship? Is language controlled? Are alcoholic beverages served? Is smoking allowed?
_____ Stories – When the fish aren’t biting, things might become quiet. Will the crew tell stories about the area, share educational information, teach knot tying or allow kids to steer the boat?
_____ Naps – Is there a bench or cot where small children can lie down if they get tired?
To ensure the enjoyment of the trip for each family member, you’ll want to:
_____ Bring Plenty of Snacks and Drinks – Even though the boat may provide chips or sodas, they may be limited in their variety. Pack your child’s favorite snacks and juices plus plenty of water. You’ll need to stay hydrated while out in the sun.
_____ Get a Good Night’s Sleep – Deep sea fishing is an absolute blast! It can be tiring, however, especially for younger children. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep before venturing out.
_____ Take Dramamine – If you are prone to seasickness, or don’t know if you will become seasick, take Dramamine or Bonine the night before and the morning of your trip just to be on the safe side.
_____ Bring Your Camera! This will be a day that memories are made of. You’ll want to capture every moment for your photo albums. Be sure to bring plenty of film and/or an extra battery.
When you’ve checked off everything on your list, you’ll be ready for a wonderful day filled with family fun and adventure. With the right captain at the helm, your deep-sea fishing journey will soon become a family tradition you’ll look forward to year after year.