September 19th is "Talk Like a Pirate Day." And what better way to call your kids "scurvy bilge rats" than to rent a pontoon boat on Lake Norman. We did just that recently when my sister was in town, a last-minute decision for a fun adventure.
The day started warm, and had me questioning the wisdom of taking my three kids on a real boat. I do have some sailing experience under my belt, but had never rented a pontoon boat, and certainly had not taken my kids on one. I recalled from a sailing class several years ago the school owner and head instructor asked the class where the best place for kids was on a boat. His answer: "Not on a boat."
The sun was shining and the seas were calm as we headed up I-77 to Carolina Boat Rentals in Cornelius. The "shop" consisted of a tent and card table - not the most confidence-inspiring set-up, but the staff was thorough and the boat was in good shape. Most importantly, all of the life jackets were in good condition and fit well - even the one for my 20-month old toddler.
Speaking of my little sailor, the woman conducting the walk-through had special instructions about the key, making sure that if we chose to stop the boat and anchor, I not only turned the key off, but utilized the "dead man" switch, so that no one could accidentally turn the boat back on. "Kids love keys," she warned.
After a short drive around the corner to Ramsey Creek Park, the deck hand conveniently lowered the boat into the water for us, motored over to the dock and invited everyone aboard. I had decided to literally tie my toddler to the rail, something that my aforementioned instructor said that he did when his children were small. After a stern review of safety rules and behavior expectations, we were on our way. We could - and should - have fun, but, under no circumstances was anyone to act "crazy."
Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/09/09/2593534/a-four-hour-touron-lake-norman.html#ixzz1XkyTjX7U