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If you own a houseboat or are planning on buying one you are probably interested in the different types of water toys. I could go through and list hundreds of different products that are cool or fun but then how do you know what you should choose?
Instead of listing hundreds of products I’m going to go through and list the top ten categories of water toys for your next trip to the lake or river. I will give you a list of the top 10 categories of water toys and then you can research into each category further and decide exactly what in each category is ideal for you and your boat passengers.
Each category of water toys will have hundreds of products and manufactures in it so be sure and do some research and read a bunch of reviews before making your final purchase decision.
1. Personal watercraft
If you have a houseboat you will most likely want to purchase a personal watercraft (PWC) to use on the water. Since houseboats don’t move very fast a PWC will give you the speed that you crave.
PWCs can be quite expensive as many jet skis/waverunners can be as expensive as $20,000 for the high end models. You can find more inexpensive waverunners but if purchasing new they will cost around $5,000. Those prices don’t even take into account the taxes, registration, insurance, fuel costs, etc.
If you plan on buying a personal watercraft for your houseboat be sure and count the total cost of ownership before making a purchase.
There are tons of different towables on the market that run from cheap innertubes to $2,000 12 person towables. If your passengers are younger than this is a great place to save some money as they will often have loads of fun just being towed around on a cheap inner tube. If the people on board are a bit older, you can find many towables that hold a few people at a time for a few hundred dollars.
Towables would also include the old standbys of waterskiing, water surfing, and more. All of them will require your boat to be moving and towing them behind your vessel. Some houseboats simply won’t go fast enough for some people’s liking so you might have to use a personal watercraft to tow them or another small boat that will move faster.
If you are feeling really adventurous they now make FLYING towables. There are a few different ones currently on the market but they will require a faster boat to tow them to be able to get some air as well as some people who don’t mind getting tossed into the water if they are thrown off!
Below is a video of one of the current models of flying towables:
Inflatables covers a large variety of products. There are small floaties that many people have in their pools all the way up to giant Island type inflatables. Inflatables can range in price from $1 at your local Walmart and Target to $5,000 for an inflatable rock climbing wall!
The type of inflatables you purchase for your boat will depend on your budget but also on the amount of space you have available. Some inflatables will still take up alot of room after being deflated so be sure and take into account the space each one will require to stow when you aren’t using it.
I wrote another article about the 13 best inflatable water toys and gave specific products that are currently on the market. That article can be found by clicking here.
I debated whether to break this up into two categories or just one as snorkeling and scuba diving are quite different. Ultimately, I just decided to put them both under one category.
Snorkeling is great for all ages and can be done on the cheap. You can get a pair of goggles and snorkel tube at most local stores as well as online for $20-$30. That makes snorkeling a very economical way to have some fun in the water for all ages.
One of the biggest downsides with snorkeling from a houseboat is that often you will be on rivers or lakes that won’t have very good visibility. Only being able to look a few inches under the water can make it hard to explore in those situations.
Scuba diving is often thought of as a rich man’s sport as it requires tons of expensive gear, tanks that need refilled constantly etc. That may have been true in the past, however times have changed!
Scuba diving for short periods of time is now possible with the release of mini scuba tanks that are refillable with a bicycle style air pump! It is still more expensive than snorkeling but you can buy a miniature scuba tank that will allow you to explore underwater for a few hundred dollars. Since refilling it is free with the pumps that often come in the kit you can explore areas of the lake or river that wouldn’t be possible before without professional equipment.
Check out this video on these revolutionary devices to explore the underwater world:
One of the huge downsides of these style systems is that it can take a LONG time to refill them by pumping on that little pump so investing in an electric compressor might be a good idea if you are planning on using this multiple times a day.
There is another item made by Blu3 called Nemo that keeps you tethered to an above water compressor. With those you will have longer time underwater (about 60 minutes) but you will be connected to a hose so you can only go 10 feet (for the small one) or 40 feet (for the large one) underwater before you run out of hose. More information about the Nemo can be found here
5. Personal Boats
This category really lumps every personal sized floating devices into one category. There are many different products including paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, electric surfboards, rafts, and more.
Having smaller personal boats on board your houseboat is a good idea for many reasons. If you want to beach your houseboat scouting out a good location is easier in a smaller boat. If you anchor away from the beach but want to go back and forth with kids or to explore smaller boats work great for that as well.
Paddleboards and kayaks are also fun to just explore the lake or river as well. One of the favorite things we did on a vacation when I was a teenager was get kayaks and venture into uncharted (at least to us) areas! We once paddled miles up a little river in kayaks until the growth was too thick so we had to turn around and head back. That little exploration was a ton of fun and we felt like we were Indiana Jones lol.
Small boats are great for teens to have some independence of their own or just to allow passengers to go on their own little adventures.
6. Sports Inflatables
I mentioned inflatables in another section but in this section I wanted to specifically talk about sports inflatables. I suppose it is sort of a subsection of inflatables but here we are.
There are a variety of different sports that can be played on the water including just throwing a ball around. However, if you want to be more structured with your water play they make inflatable nets that float on the water, inflatable volleyball nets, inflatable basketball hoops, obstacle courses and more.
Many sports inflatables can be played in the water or on the beach as well whichever you prefer. Each game can be enjoyed by a variety of ages and you can adjust each game depending on the water you are in or if you are the beach.
7. Adult Games
Don’t let the title throw you off, there are tons of different adult water games that can be played on the water. Some of the most popular adult water games are floating beer pong, darts, Inflatable bull riding, floating cornhole, and even watermelon ball (yes that’s a real game!).
Most of these games can be played by teens as well as adults (assuming you alter beer pong a bit) but they wouldn’t work well for younger children as playing these games requires a bit more dexterity and it becomes especially difficult if played in deeper water.
Just because you are no longer a child doesn’t mean you have to sit around and do nothing all day (although that can be fun). There are a lot of different water games that a group of adults can play while on the water. Find your favorite and get playing!
After a hard day of boating (or doing nothing) there is nothing better than getting on a lounger and floating in the water. There are many different varieties of loungers, from chairs that you can put on deck, to floating lounge chairs that keep you partially submerged.
Comfort for each lounger can be quite different as some are designed for only being used for a short time while others you can lounge in all day. I personally prefer the loungers that keep your legs and other body parts in the water. I don’t want to just be floating around on the water and not have any coolness from the water.
For lounge chairs on deck, I always prefer something that reclines back a good amount. Not only is that helpful for getting a tan but it is far more comfortable than a straight backed chair or a chair that only goes back a little bit.
Zero gravity chairs or chaise lounge chairs both work great for on deck while in the water a floating hammock chair or even floating recliner work great.
I always go for chairs that have a cup holder as I prefer to have my favorite drink within arms reach while relaxing. There are many floating chairs that have cup holders so that is something to consider when getting a lounger too.
9. Remote Control Toys
When you think of RC toys your first thought is probably the remote control cars that have been popular gifts at birthdays and Christmas for years. RC cars can be pretty amazing but the area on your boat where they can be used is limited and the last thing you want while dozing in a chair is to be worried about that remote controlled car going overboard.
Thankfully there aren’t just remote controlled cars anymore, there are also BOATS! RC boats aren’t just for the kids in your party either as the more expensive RC boats can go 30-40mph! Even the cheaper alternatives go 15-20mph which might be considerably faster than your normal boat goes!
The remote control boat pictured above goes 15mph, has a button to flip the boat back upright if needed and more! The battery will last for 10-15 minutes of running it as fast as possible and it comes with an extra battery so that you can have one on the charger while keeping the fun going.
My family loves these remote controlled boats and the prices are so reasonable that we can get a few of them and have races against one another! We will normally find a spot that has a log or something like that and race to it or around it and then back. The above boat has a range of approximateky 500 feet from the remote to the boat so it can go a long way away from the boat without losing the connection.
10. Hydroflight Vehicles
Hydroflight is going to be the most expensive thing on this list since they require a jet ski or personal watercraft to be able to work. The hydroflight gear attaches to the jet ski and uses the jet ski engine to pump the water that will lift you through the air.
Hydroflight is done over deeper water. It uses water to propel a person into the air often on a board, bike, or even a jetpack! Hydroflight is quickly becoming a full blown sport with competitions and even professionals now engaging in the sport. Below is a video of some of the more popular tricks from jetboarders.
There are a few different hydroflight vehicles including:
- Freedom Flyer
Each hydroflight vehicle runs into the thousands of dollars not including the cost of the jet ski or personal watercraft that you use. If $10,000+ for the jet ski and hydroflight vehicle isn’t in your budget you can rent a hydroflight vehicle at many places for $75-$150 for a half hour rental including a 10 minute training.
I personally haven’t rented a hydroflight vehicle before but many of my family have rented them. They spent more time in the water than out of it as it can take some time to get the hang of flying one properly. Smacking the water from a height can also not be so pleasant so be sure and pay attention during the training if the place you rent from offers that.
That brings our list of the ten types of water toys for boats and houseboats to an end. I hope this list has helped spark your imagination about the different water toys that you can use on your next boating trip. Each category will have hundreds or even thousands of possible water toys in them so I would start with a category or two and then start looking at the products in them.
Make a list of your favorites and then post it on social media or ask your friends/family that you normally take on board which are their favorites to narrow it down a bit more.
My personal favorites are the remote control boats, personal boats, and inflatables. All of those can be purchased for a reasonable price and for the different inflatables you can even shop the discount stores to find them even cheaper.
Whatever you decide, I hope your boat is filled with love, laughter, and great times!