The Adventures of 4 Boys, 1 Dad, and a Sea Eagle 370
When kids enjoy their early boating experience, it can lead to a lifetime of nautical fun and adventure. We heard recently from a Sea Eagle 370 owner who is introducing his brood to the joys of boating at an early age. Avishai is 11; Matan is 8; Nadav is 5; and little Ezra is just 9 months.
Charles Neuman of Long Island sent us photos of taking his four young sons boating in New York’s Oyster Bay in his Sea Eagle 370 inflatable kayak. “Boating with kids is a lot of fun and it was a very satisfying experience for all of us,” he said. “When we got in the Sea Eagle, one of my sons said, ‘This feels like vacation.’ I really enjoyed it, too. It sets the stage for them if they want to do more boating as they get older.”
Charles shared some smart-parent tips to help introduce kids to boating while making it a positive experience they’ll want to do again.
• Living Room Boating — “I inflated the boat in the living room and the kids loved playing in it. So they were excited about getting it in the water. That was a nice buildup to the actual boating.”
• Short & Sweet — “Keep the boating kind of short at first. If it gets tedious, kids won’t want to go out again. Short and sweet – that’s my recommendation for other parents.”
• Life Jackets Mandatory — “I wear a life preserver the whole time we’re boating and the kids do, too, even the youngest one. I don’t know if they’re required but I always wear one anyway. That sets a good example for the kids.”
• Know Your Equipment — “It’s a good idea to get to know how to set up the boat before you go out so you can do it easily and be confident with your equipment.”
• Bring Food — “On any outing with kids, it’s a good idea to bring candy or food. But pick the right thing. I brought lollipops and the sticks ended up stuck to the bottom of the boat.”
A boat in a bag
Space is at a premium in the trusty family car when you’re loading four young ones and all their gear for an outing. Charles’s Sea Eagle 370 packs down to the size of a small suitcase and weighs just 32 lbs. so it tucks in easily. “The 370 seemed like a great boat and it’s portable. It’s easy to stow away, take it with you, and inflate when you want it.” And, he says there’s something fun about bringing a boat in a bag on your shoulder then going boating in it. “The kids liked that.”
We asked Charles why he chose a Sea Eagle inflatable. “I’d say it’s the Sea Eagle reputation and because so many people have them that I was able to get a lot of information on them.” While many choose their Sea Eagles on the Sea Eagle website, Charles saw them firsthand. “We live on Long Island and went to Sea Eagle headquarters in nearby Port Jefferson. We saw the boats in person. They seemed really well built. The price seemed good, too.”
A careful shopper
Charles, a physics teacher, told us more about how he chose the 370. “I looked at the smaller 330 but I wanted to be able to fit me and two kids. It seemed like it’s a good balance of size and weight — not too heavy – something I could comfortably carry. I’m glad I splurged for the Deluxe Inflatable Seats because they’re really well done. Everything about them is well built and works perfectly.”
“The 370 also has nice air valves. They’re almost the best feature of the boat. I have an electric pump and it inflates it very easily. And the valves make deflating fast, too. You just open the top of the valve. When you’re shopping, you think valves aren’t that big a deal but when you’re out there, anything that saves you a few minutes, especially with kids, is worth it. If it shaves off five minutes of setup is great.”
(Editor’s Note: Charles is exactly right about the air valves on the Sea Eagle 370. They are Halkey-Roberts one-way valves: use a manual or battery/electric pump and air goes one way, “in only.” To deflate, unscrew the cap and the air’s released with a “whoosh.”)
Charles does a different kind of adventure boating — every bit as challenging and probably more rewarding. “A boating adventure for me,” he tells us, “is getting the car loaded, getting all four boys in, getting to the water, getting the Sea Eagle set up…all without anybody crying.”
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