Years ago, when our oldest kids were tweens, we bought a ski boat. The next day we went to the lake. A huge storm came up, and the following day we put in an insurance claim for $2700.00 damage to our new boat. I knew pre-trips were important from flying, but it never occurred to me that we should also have one for the boat. The weather was perfect when we left, but within a couple of hours of leaving the boat launch a freak storm came outta no-where. While trying to get our boat trailered to go home, it was thrown up on the rocks by from 4-foot waves.
After the boat spending the summer in the shop, we came up with a pre-trip plan that included getting a weather report first. It was the kids responsibility to make sure the pre-trip was completed before they were allowed to go out. The first time out they invited some friends. When we got to the boat launch, I asked to see the pre-trip that they were happy to show me. I noticed that there was one more passenger than there were lifejackets. I said, “Well we’ll try again tomorrow.” My kids said “But dad, we want to go now.” I pointed out across the lake and said, “When something goes wrong out there you can’t come back to get safety equipment you forgot. We will try again tomorrow. They never screwed up a pre-trip again. They learned the responsibility of taking the pre-trip seriously.
Before doing any type of family outing parents can have their children come up with a pre-trip plan. After you have reviewed it to help them hopefully see all that should be required, leave it up to them to do it before you go. If they refuse you don’t go, period. It can be for a camping trips, road trips, snow skiing, or any other kind of a getaway. Parents can have the kids pack their bags check the vehicle for all fluid levels, belts, tires, cleaned up inside and out with all luggage and snacks neatly stored in the vehicle to go.
To give you an example of our boat pre-trip you can print off and tailor to your needs, click here.