Better for stability- kayak or canoe

If you have two SOT’s
you can come up with a lot more games like jumping from SOT to SOT, paddle at each other and as you pass try to push each other in the water, turn the SOT’s upside down and climb on it, etc.

If you take a couple of kids on the trip make sure you bring some squirt guns for each one and be ready to get wet all day. The kids will beg you to go again.

That’s the best way to go
You’re right, and every child is different. Telling me to purposely flip it over is like throwing a child in the water who is scared to swim. Maybe it might work for some kids, but not mine. It would cause her to take 10 steps back. Baby steps work best for her, and allowing her to get comfortable with it at her own pace. It never occurred to me to get a SOT and allow her to “play” with it in the shallow water but I think that is the perfect solution. Once she gets used to sitting on it, paddling it around, we can then take it out together on a group guided tour. Thanks for the advice!

Central FL tours
Thanks, that sounds perfect! We will definitely check it out!

Speaking as a child psychologist,
perhaps the stability and anxiety problem is yours and not your daughters? My kids and grandkids aren’t especially brave, but they would never be bothered by a little boat wobble.

ALLIGATORS, people, = “gators”
… reptiles, with sharp pointed teeth. Lurking_in_the_water_in_the_subtropics.

Not leg coverings for snow hiking. Not a sports team. Not the John Deere utility runner.

Sheesh, people. It’s not all trout out there!

Get a barge, er, “fishing style” sit on top kayak that holds two. Very stable, plenty of weight capacity, difficult to tip, self draining… I’ve had several adults eyeballing my one-seater, asking where I got it, saying they could fit their little kid easily in front of them where the fishing tackle box would go (if I had one). “If” you tip over, just flip it back and get back on, not hard to learn. As long as you aren’t going down the bayou throwing out bait every few yards to attract birds or fish, or trailing a plucked chicken, you shouldn’t attract gators. Avoiding “Other People Doing Stupid S**t” is the other part of the equation. Don’t kayak where Bubba feeds gators fer the Tourists… problem solved !

Your chances of being eaten by a gator are about my chances of getting eaten by a mountain lion while jogging. Yes, it could happen, given where I live, but I trust that the other wildlife may have staked out enough territorial claims in the area, plus everyone has dogs, that a mountain lion attack would be somewhat of a freak thing. They’d rather eat something less likely to cause a fuss. Same with any large predator. As long as there is something easier to eat than a human, that’s the preferred snack. Of course, there are times of day and places where animals are more likely to be looking at you, so avoiding that can help. This includes wearing a bell during hunting season, so I am not mistaken for a turkey by some hunting yahoo, and a bear doesn’t mistake me for a grocery cart. Heck, carry a knife and tell your kid you’ll Crocodile Dundee the water dwelling lizard- thing should one show up… tell the stories about parents successfully beating off coyotes, crocs, etc…

Well all children are different…

– Last Updated: Sep-16-14 9:15 PM EST –

Sorry, no, I am not fearful of being in a kayak or any other type of boat. In fact, I posted another thread about solo kayaking because I'd like to start paddling solo.

Children aren't all the same. And I'm just really glad she's willing to give it a try.

Those are great ideas!.
The pool crew won’t allow us to bring a SOT but I love your ideas! If we could bring a SOT to some clear, shallow waters that would be great. I think she’d really enjoy the “games”! Allowing her to get comfortable at her own pace with it is exactly what works best for her.

Rent a boat that’s BIGGER than the gator
If fear of gators is the true problem rather than tippiness per se, I doubt the “canoe or kayak” choice makes a difference. Maybe have some local flora and fauna experts give her an idea of actual likelihood of a gator harming the boat or either of you.

What you probably should do is to rent a BIG, FAT, HONKING BARGE of a canoe or kayak, because predators often leave bigger predators alone :wink:

And go with a group, because a herd of big predators is even more intimidating.

Gee, now I feel sorry for that gator.

in the time it took to write and read
all of these posts you could have had your daughter out on the water in a little kayak or SOT and shown her that capsizing is no big thing. You do it first and show her - in nice, sandy bottomed warm Florida water.

Something that everyone needs to learn regardless of their age and whether or not they are a strong swimmer. Part of kayaking.

Imo it is more likely that, given her fears (whether they are groundless or grounded)without some capsize practice she will be unnaturally stiff and unsteady in a kayak,whether in her own or next to you in yours) and this is not a good thing. Esp since as pointed out you are not experienced in paddling either, and will need to make your own positional adjustments.

I appreciate all the concern you are showing to make this a good first experience for your daughter, and offer this in that spirit.

Like Nike: Just Do It.

Her fear is not unfounded

– Last Updated: Sep-18-14 12:37 PM EST –

It's very easy a lot of you to say her fears are unfounded if you are not from Florida and do not paddle in FL waters on a regular basis. She's not afraid of capsizing or of the water. Like the OP states she's afraid of what is IN the water.

I've had several close encounters with gators myself. Large males can most definitely be aggressive towards kayakers. Do many people get "eaten" by them? No. Is merely the thought of a creature who is higher than us on the food chain lurking in the waters enough to frighten a small child? Sure.

Most paddlers come out without a scratch on them but the mere thought of encountering a gator is obviously going to be unsettling to a small child. (read the whole thread, not just the OP, gator encounters do happen)

I live in the North but
do paddle Florida about 30 days a year.

Gator encounters …yes I have had them… I spooked one on a point on the Hillsborough and it flew barely over the bow. Fortunately it cleared the boat and did not come to help me paddle… It was out of there so fast.

Another in mating season charged my boat. At some times of the year like any other wild animal they get testy. About ten feet from my boat he dove… and I never saw him again.

And I have landed in the water from being upset by a mating manatee.( so much for the idea that sea cows are gentle) He came up under the boat and tipped it over. His back was about a foot out of the water. Yes gators were in the water too I am sure. Later I watched a manatee chase another with enough speed to generate a sizeable wake.

It’s all about balance and perspective. People are naturally afraid of what they don’t know… Some folks here are paralyzed at the thought of camping out… after all there are bears!

I get that gators are not our friends. Only when I have to paddle within touching a gator distance ( as in some places like the Okefenokee) do I get nervous.

Hope my stories help. Sure they are anectdotes.