Tinnie Tactics
  |  First Published: April 2006

Recently I had the pleasure of taking my little 5-year-old cousin out for a day on the water.

Apart from a few ‘frustrating’ moments, it was an enjoyable day for both of us. How can you go wrong with a day packed with fishing, swimming and exploring? April’s article will cover how to plan a day on the water, combining small children and a tinnie.


The most important thing to do when venturing out in a boat with small children is to double check that your vessel meets all safety requirements. Ensuring that you have the right equipment, such as flares and an EPIRB, and safety procedures guarantees a fun and safe time on the water. Before you depart check that you have sufficient water, food and sunscreen for the trip.

Slip, Slop, Slap

Sunburn is one of the biggest downsides of any boating and fishing adventure you may have. Spending the day on a boat can result in extreme sunburn, sunstroke and dehydration. Children are more susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun than adults, so it’s important that sunscreen is applied liberally every few hours. Lightweight long-sleeved shirts are also a must, as are regular drinks of water to stop dehydration.

Keeping occupied

When the fishing is slow and there isn’t much excitement to be had, it’s definitely worth throwing in a few other activities to keep kids occupied. I found bait gathering was a big winner – especially throwing the cast net for livies. My cousin found emptying the net and retrieving the catch so exciting that anyone would have thought he’d landed a 40lb barra! This sort of activity also makes the kids feel part of the whole adventure, contributing to the day’s catch, whilst having a bit of fun along the way.

Pumping yabbies and gathering soldier crabs is also a sure way to keep them interested. Bait gathering has always been somewhat of a chore for me, so palming the job off to a youngster isn’t a bad option! Having young company always lightens the mood and makes the day more enjoyable – even bait gathering!

Mixing it up

Another factor to remember when taking the kids out is that it’s important to mix things up a bit. If the fish have gone quiet and there’s no bait on the go, try finding a small beach to pull up on and have a swim and poke around the dunes. Keeping the kids guessing at what’s happening next will keep the nagging to a minimum, and the fun to a maximum.

Taking children out for a day on the water virtually guarantees an enjoyable experience. It gets them away from the television or Playstation and out in the fresh air and sunshine, as well as giving them an introduction to the wonderful world of fishing – a passion that could stay with them the rest of their lives.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be sun smart, and ensuring that the appropriate safety gear is in place and up-to-date. After all, it could be all that stands between turning a fun day on the water into a tragedy.

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