Most kids are water babies, but that doesn't mean most gear is suitable. Want to know the best water crafts and safety gear for your little ones? Check out this list of child-appropriate options sure to make a splash this summer.
The fun, colorful design options for this inflatable SUP are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of its kid-friendly features. Even the air pump is designed especially for kids, offering hassle-free setup in about five minutes. (All the necessary gear, including a paddle, comes standard with the SUP.) At 25 pounds, the paddleboard may be a struggle to carry for youngsters, but the center handle helps to make it more portable. Bungee cords provide secure storage at the front of the board, and the built-in GoPro mount means you might just bring back the family tradition of home videos. $950
This hardshell kayak incorporates a patented swim-up deck to make access from the water easier for kids should they fall out — though they likely won't. The twin fins and wide stance make this kayak extremely stable and easy to navigate for tykes as young as 5. The shell's lightweight plastic offers portability both in and out of the water, allowing young paddlers to go farther with each stroke. It's a kayak they can grow with thanks, in part, to its durability coupled with cockpit design features like multiple footrest positions. (Paddle is included in purchase.) $189.99
Whether they can swim or not, keep your kids safe — and cool — with this pup-sized PFD. Featuring ventilated mesh and patented Cooling Channel technology, this vest was designed specifically to make concerns of overheating ebb away. The attached segmented head pillow won't restrict your child's movements like many of the other vests out there, though it will flip your child face up as soon as they hit the water. The adjustable waist and crotch straps ensure a snug fit so the vest can do its job. $59.99-$64.99, depending on size
TIP: To check for proper fit, lift your child up by the easy-grab handle on the back of the vest. Their ears and chin should not slip through.
Get your kids riding high with this inflatable kayak that's perfect for whitewater. Short and stable, it is well suited for those wading into the sport. Its width and adjustable seat mean even adults can take it for a spin. With its self-bailing floor, the only thing you'll need to worry about is where to head off to. $399
Designed and built by kayakers, this is an easy way to keep your paddle (or family) in tow. Its durable construction is lightweight, yet won't lose its elasticity, and the attached carabiner is "saltwater-tough." Just hook one end of the 36-inch leash to your boat and the other to your gear or anyone who might get lost. Sold as a two- or three-pack set, simply loop several together for a little more leeway. $9.99 (2); $11.99 (3)