Monday, July 13, 2015

Lake Powell Day 2

On Day 2 of the houseboat, Mr. C sets about blowing things up. 

He inflates the swim island for the kids, which is also tied off on the other side of the cove, and this second rope defines the other side of their “swimming pool”.   

There are floaties for the grown-ups to be inflated, 

and the star of the show for the little ones, 

the Great Big Brawler.   

This huge “tube” has proved to be their favorite.  It’s an easy gig for them, as they are seated, with handles everywhere to hang on tight.  It seats four, and even the littlest ones, at 2 & 3 years old, can ride it with an adult on board.   

Many times that adult is named Noni.   What we don’t do 
for those little ones………….


We started the chico's  on a baby "training ski" a few years back.  Mr. C did a lot of research to find the one that's the best rated, and we’ve been very happy with the E-Z Training Ski.  It inflates like an inner tube, with a seat and fake ski footholds.  They have a ski rope to hang on to, also fake,

They start in a seated position; then, when they feel comfortable enough, they can stand up.  

This has been a big hit amongst our youngest crowd.

Super safe, a simple way for them to start getting used to moving on top of the water behind a boat.  You can see little S is comfortable enough to be curious about the wake she is creating.  (Am I really making those waves?) 

And they really think they’re doing something big!  
She's just 3 years old, by the way....

From here they graduate to a set of actual training skis ~ you know the type, the ones that are lashed together, and, again, the rope is fake ~ it’s attached to the ski’s themselves, nothing is really pulling on their little arm sockets.  
An adult on the back of the boat is holding the real ski rope, and can release it the minute the little one goes into the water. 

They are never left in the water alone, 
an adult both starts and ends their attempts.

And, most importantly, they love it!

Water safety is paramount, and one of the biggest questions we get about taking little ones out to live on the water for a week is about water safety.   When the kids started having and bringing kids to the houseboat ~

Mr. C has strict water rules: 
#1)  They must have had swimming lessons, at least to the point that they have had some basic water safety training, and know how to navigate themselves to some degree.  They should know how to get to the surface, get to and reach for the safety of the boat deck, and, preferably, know how to flip over and back float till help arrives.  

#2)  Life jackets and an adult are required when outside on the decks.  Always.  Every single time.  Without exception.  The sliding glass doors are a clear (pun intended) boundary.  

#3)  Turtle bands are required at all times they are not outside or in the water.  This nifty little device is an alarm system that, when triggered, issues an ear-splitting noise that brings the entire boat, and perhaps even as far as the neighbor’s boat, to attention.  Each kid gets a Turtle band that can be worn on their wrist or ankle, and the minute it gets wet we all know it ~ the alarm goes off, and it's loud and it's piercing and it's demanding.  I’m happy to say that we’ve never really needed it, meaning nobody’s gone overboard.  But it does get triggered accidentally, usually a time or two each trip, by something as innocent as a hand-washing or an Otter Pop dripping on it, or even a dripping swim suit or towel, or something as simple as unconsciously chewing on it ‘cause it bugs them.  We always treat that like a fire drill, all the adults go into high gear calling out, at the top of their lungs, “I’ve got A & L, where’s S?”  Or, “I’ve got one-two-three, where’s 4 & 5?!”.   Between the alarm noise, and the commotion (and screaming) of the adults, the kids are absolutely terrified of this ~ and that’s a good thing.  Water safety is life and death, and we want them to respect the water as well as enjoy it.   We’ve used this system for many years now, and recommend it highly.  We keep an eagle eye on each one of them every minute ~ but for the one minute that they might slip by us ~ we trust the Turtle bands to let us know.

Here’s a side note (travel tip) on water safety.  We always spend the first day and night @ the dock in the Marina, and we see that, as a whole, adults and children alike seem to feel that the Marina is very safe ~ no life vest on the kids, and many times they’re not required to have the hand of an adult ~ when in reality, just the opposite is true.  The Marina and it’s walkways are among the most dangerous of places for toddlers and young children on the water.

Without a life vest, a child who trips or mis-steps and lands in the water will go under.  And when they do, they may or may not come up.  And if they do, there’s a good possibility that they come up underneath the walkway and there is no chance for the adult who dives in after them to know where that might be.  We see incidents like this time after time, summer after summer.   One little 3 year-old girl who fell off the dock @ Lake Powell was not found until 6 weeks later.  Just imagine the parents grief, to say nothing of their guilt.  They were right there when it happened, but………no life vest.

In addition to dock safety, our little  crew gets a safety “reminder” training on the first evening, each and every year.  Last summer was a third of a 3-year-old’s lifetime ago, they cannot be expected to remember what all the expectations are.  

They know, for example, that as we pull out of dock, it's essential that they are all "bodies on the couch ~ and QUIET!"  (So the Pilot can hear the engines and the Captain and (God forbid) the crunch if he hits the dock or another houseboat).

It varies from year-to year, but it looks something like this.  I adore this shot, every single year.  Something so special about cousins growing up together, don't you think?

It’s cute, now that the older ones are repeat houseboaters, to hear them recite all the rules.  #1)  Nobody goes outside without two things.  And they will yell, in unison, “An adult and a life jacket!”  And it’s gratifying, as the trip goes by, to see them follow those rules without objection, and remind each other if need be.   #2)  When you’re not in the water or wearing a lifejacket, what do you need to have?   And they yell, “A Turtle band!”;  #3) Can you go swimming if the generator is running?  And they all yell, “No!” (Co2, and all that).

And, lastly, just to cover all the bases,  #4)  If the Captain says to do something, what do you do?  And they yell in chorous, “We do what the Captain says!”  (Cause if there’s a storm or wind or rain or an emergency, we want them to clearly know to listen to directions from Captain, not just Mommy & Daddy.)

The parents are key to this water vacation, and we so appreciate that everybody is on the same page with these expectations.   It makes for a fun and safe time on the lake for all concerned.   I would not dream of taking the kids aboard if the parents were not so diligent and devoted, they are all on-guard absolutely every second.

And we are the luckiest of Grandparents (cousins included), to see our kids, who have loved this family outing growing up, now bring their kids to the houseboat each summer; continuing the family tradition and creating wonderful water-memories that will last a lifetime. 

At least my lifetime. 


  1. Oh my. This is just packed full go great suggestions and info on gear! I love the photos of these little ones, that includes you, with those dramatic rock canyon walls! And I just adore your final pic and comment. From the heart I know! Great article full of info and passion.

    1. Thanks, Karen. I am always looking for tried-n-true tips on things for the kids, so I hope that sharing some of our favorites will add to the summer fun for others. And I agree, I'm always in awe of how tiny these little people are doing these big things on this huge lake with these enormous canyon walls! Love those babies gathered around me at the end of the day ~ or anytime, really ~

  2. You are blessed with such a wonderful family and I enjoy coming along for the ride and seeing it all. Beautiful scenery as well! I look forward to all my Passport Envy connections. I read these first when I see them. Thank you for sharing. Blessings Deon

    1. Thanks so much, Deon, it's always nice to hear from you. I am truly blessed with a wonderful family, it means so much to me. Blessings to you, too!


Join the conversation ... comment now!