We can tell you from firsthand experience (as kids, parents, and grandparents) that there is no greater thrill for the younger generation than having command of a dinghy. It is such a feeling of power and freedom that unless you have experienced it yourself, as a child, it is difficult to comprehend. Getting kids out on their own in the dink teaches them self-reliance, and brings them closer to understanding and enjoying the operation of the mother vessel. The key is to let them stretch their wings in a safe manner.
Our preference is to start with rowing and then work up to the outboard. And unless the kids are well versed in water safety, including what to do in a swamping, insist life jackets be worn. Beyond this, start with easy venues—protected anchorages, light airs, no current—and try not to be too obvious in the careful watch you keep.
Shore break for the dog, and a chance for the kids to get away from their parents and vice versa (Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia). And below, our granddaughter Emma, aged two, picking up where her Mom left off. Emma s favorite thing to do when she visits is drive the "baby boat".
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