Water-sports toys feature as a major part of the entertainment aboard a yacht. As a minimum, nearly all yachts will include snorkel gear with a selection of masks and fin sizes. Most will also carry some fishing gear. Floating mats, noodles and a few beach games are also fairly standard equipment. However, the vast majority of boats carry significant more in terms of water-sports gear and toys for people of all ages. Here are just some you might find:
Towable tubes and doughnuts (donuts) – a vast range of inflatable water-sports toys for one or more people with an amazing range of shapes from the basic ring to hot dogs and banana rides. Towable at low and high speeds. Great fun for kids of all ages!
Paddle boards: Stand up paddleboards (SUP) offer a fun, relaxing way to play on the water. With a minimum of gear, you can paddle in different sea conditions – but flat calm conditions are easiest. It’s all about balance! SUPs deliver a full body workout and has become a popular cross-training activity.
Kayaks: Usually made in brightly coloured molded plastic and similar to canoes but paddled with a double bladed paddle. Double kayaks are perfect for a couple of any age to go off and explore a peaceful bay on their own and are one of the easiest water-sports toys to master.
Water-skis: Think of gliding across the surface of a calm sea at around 25 to 35 miles per hour with the wind in your hair. There are several different types of waterskis depending upon level of expertise – beginners probably best going a little slower on wider skis. And two skis or one. Depending on weight and level of experience of skier, the towing tender needs an engine of at least 40 hp. Some boats will carry a range of ski types and a crew member might be able to offer some instruction to beginners.
Wake-boards (scurf-boards): Wake-boarding is a combination of water skiing and snowboarding. Wake-boarders ride on a board slightly larger than a snowboard and towed along at speeds around 20 miles per hour. Beginners love that wake-boarding is fun, easy to learn, and allows everyone to progress their skill level at their own pace. Experienced wake-boarders can launch themselves into the air using either the wake and/or various man-made jumps or obstacles and perform aerial tricks and flips. This is fast becoming a very competitive sport and is shortlisted as a new sport for the 2020 Olympics. Wake-skating is an adaptation of wakeboarding but where the rider is not bound to the board in any way, which gives the sport its own unique challenges.
Kneeboards: Kneeboarding involves being strapped to a board in a kneeling position. It is not typically as popular as waterskiing or wakeboarding even though many tricks can still be performed.
Sea-Doo: an underwater scooter with built-in buoyancy which can run at around 2 miles per hour and to depths of about 60ft.
Hobie Cat: The Hobie Cat is a small sailing catamaran manufactured by the Hobie Cat Company.
Sailing dinghies: such as the Sun Fish – which is one of the most popular sailing dinghies ever built. Is great for casual sailing and racing. Lightweight and easy is transport, some of the larger cats and sailing monohulls may carry one or two.
And here are some water-sports toys usually only found on motor yachts:
Jetskis: Strictly speaking, Jet Ski is the trademarked name, but the term has become a generic name for all types of personal watercraft…..Sea-Doo and WaveRunner are other brands. It is part water skiing, part speedboat, and part motorcycle during operation. The use of jet skis is prohibited in certain places in the Caribbean – the BVIs and parts of St John in the USVIs for example. And many harbors also have 10mph speed limits. In the Med it is a requirement that operators have had training and possess a license to drive one. Some motor yachts are recognized training and certification centers.
SeaBob: Did you see the James Bond movie Thunderball? Well, a SeaBob is something like the underwater jet scooter featured in that movie. It is your personal submarine that allows you to move gracefully like a dolphin or feel like 007 on an underwater mission. Some models can dive to more than 130ft – the maximum depth for recreational divers – and operate for up to an hour.
Inflatable water slides: try that from the top deck of a motor yacht.
Media and Entertainment
Even the smallest sailing yacht will probably have a TV with DVD player in the saloon. Many will have small flat screens in each cabin. The entertainment systems within yachts are becoming increasingly sophisticated, however, with individual “on-demand ” music and movie selections, satellite TV etc. Some larger motor yachts have impressive small cinemas aboard and it’s not uncommon to find large screens and cinema projection equipment on deck and sound systems to compliment them.
Good old fashioned entertainment includes board-games possibly with chess and back-gammon sets. Card tables are not unusual in some motor saloons.