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  • Britt Lothrop

Summer essentials for days on the water with three littles.

As a mom of three finding a safe and entertaining way to spend our summer days on the water is so essential to my happiness and the kids.

This summer we packed up the mini van and set sail to Vancouver Island and my hometown or Port Alberni BC. I grew up living lakeside on beautiful Sproat Lake, the most amazing lake ever (in my bias opinion) and I need to give my kids their first taste of lake life in the summer. Now that they are all old enough to swim, boat and really enjoy what the lake has to offer, I thought this was the year to start. And BONUS I got to spend all summer with my mom (Best friend) and Dad who I haven’t had the opportunity to spend more than 4 days with since Hunter (my oldest) was born.

Obviously, Marc (spouse) and I had to bring the boat for evening cruises and wakesurf sets! Believe it or not Jones and Lenon (our twin 3-year-olds) braved the wakesurf! With a little help from Ma & Pa they got up!

Ok let’s get to the goods. There were many items I came across this summer that made it great. First and foremost, I must tell you the secret of the BC Ferries Assured Loading card. For those of you know, you know. For those of you who don’t let me blow your mind!

BC Ferries offers a card called the Assured Loading Card (ALC), it is not advertised ANYWHERE, and you have to look HARD to find it on their website! But it made our summer. And I don’t say that lightly. We have always struggled to get ferry reservations, especially if booking within the week of travel.

Well not anymore!

As long as you are traveling within the vehicle height and length restriction the ALC allows you to arrive to any terminal 20 minutes early and drive onto that sailing. Let me tell you how much of a travel game changer this was! Here’s the catch…

You must prepay for 10 sailings at a time at a price of $165/sailing. Just to compare or those of you who don’t know the average sailing price is $93.95 on the busy routs at peak times. So, you do pay for this convenience. But in my option, when you’re travelling with 3 young kids, it is 100% worth it!

For Marc and I we found a few items that made our summer just a little more relaxed.

We loved the drink cozies, and wow they work well. Our drinks were cold for an hour or more even on the 40° days! Next, we decided to invest in a good cooler, we chose the Yeti Hopper M30, it’s a soft cooler and totally waterproof, it fit great in the boat and kept our food and drinks cold all day! We also purchased a Thermacell Radius mosquito repellent device and I have to say it worked well! Its rechargeable and refillable and it’s the first thing I found that works that you don’t have to put toxic chemical on your skin. Last thing to mention is the beautiful, oversized beach towels. They are so great because they are awesome as towels and double as blankets in the boat when your cold! Check out all the other parent’s summer essentials on my buying guide below.

Finally, and most important the things that made our kids summer on the water just perfect.

For the boat you’ve got to have CSA PFD’s, we found these (below) at Canadian tire, the kids found them super comfortable because they didn’t have the big headrest at the back of the neck. They could wear them for hours and if they decided to swim off the boat, they were also great for that as well. If we were on the doc swimming, we found these swim trainers (below), also at Canadian Tire. They were way less bulky than t he full PFD’s and the kids loved swimming in them! Our kids also loved the pop-it’s fidget games, we took them on the boat, and they were great entertainment when Marc and I wanted to go for a surf. Last thing to mention is the bounce track. Our kids had a blast on this both in the water and out. It came with its own super-fast pump and is super easy to transport. Such a fun summer purchase! Check out all of this along with the other kid’s summer essentials on my kids’ buying guide below.

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