Tips for the Ultimate Boat Swim Platform Jump Photos

boat jump photos boater lifePhotography tricks for catching great shots of your kids jumping from a boat into the water

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Last summer my oldest daughter finally got enough confidence to make the leap from our boat’s swim platform into the river. And once she learned how to do it there was no stopping her (except the unfortunate, yet inevitable, end to the summer).

I was able to catch some of my favorite pictures of the season while she was on her swim platform jumping spree. These are memories that will surely last a lifetime – and I was thrilled to capture it all on film.


boat jump photosI am in no way a professional photographer, but I am a marketer in the boating industry and I feel like I know a bit more than the average boater when it comes to photography around boats.

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So what makes a good boat jump photo?

Here are some things to consider with the photo you take:

Perspective. Whether you take the photo from in front or behind the jump makes a big difference.

If you take from the front – with them jumping off the boat toward you – then you get to see their faces to capture their expression.

swim platform jump

From behind can be cool too because you can see the direction they are jumping in from the boat.

boat jump photo


My preference is having them jump toward you from the boat because you get a great view of your boat and excitement on their face.


For the biggest impact, you want to capture the jump when they are high in the air.

high swim platform jump

A slightly off centered angle gives may give you more view of the water and the distance from the boat.

angle boat jump photo

Different weather situations can also make a big impact on the photo. My preference is blue skies with fluffy white clouds. I also like to try to catch an angle where you can see the sun sparkling on the water or from behind the boat.

boat jump photo

Camera Options for Boat Jump Photos

Do you have a digital SLR camera with a fast shutter or are you using a smartphone camera? Each has some advantages and disadvantages from ease of use to picture quality.

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Digital SLR cameras

My first choice for quality photos on the water is my “good camera”. I don’t take it to the boat every weekend because we like to try to pack light, but whenever I do have it on hand I always get the best shots. From resolution to light control to shutter speed – you’ll get your best photos from a DSLR camera.


    • best photo quality, high resolution to print large photos
    • fast shutter speed options to catch action shots
    • flexibility with use of extra lens for different shot effects


    • more expensive, may not want to take it into the water
    • can’t easily upload to social media right from the camera

boat swim platform jumpYou don’t necessarily need to get a very expensive one either. My camera is a Canon Rebel T3 that sells for only about $500 on Amazon. You can also equip it with other lenses to get more out of the camera – from a pricey zoom lens to a cool fish eye effect lens. I purchased a 50 mm lens from Amazon for about $100 recently that greatly improves photos in low light situations… gives me super sharp photos.

There are no good waterproof or floating cases for DSLR cameras so you need to be really careful taking pictures from the water. I usually wait until the tide is lower and I can walk behind the boat holding the camera up in the air, then I take pictures from a safe distance to not get splashed. Another option would be to float out on a raft, dinghy or jetski to take pictures safely from a distance.

Smartphone cameras

The most convenient option for taking pictures on the boat is definitely your smartphone camera. But there is a bit of a trade-off if you are looking to catch quality jump shots.


    • less bulky and easier to hold around the water
    • waterproof and floating cases available to protect it when taking photos from the water
    • easily upload and share photos on social media from the phone
    • built in photo filters to create cool effects


    • Lower quality photos
    • Less control over light and shutter speed to catch action shots

One trick I did learn with smartphone cameras… it’s easier to take a video of the action and then take a screenshot from the video to create a still photo. It can be tricky to catch just the right moment in the video, pause it and then take a screenshot on your phone… but it works.

I also suggest getting waterproof or floating cases for your smartphone if you plan to take a lot of photos from the water. That way you can get in the water and have a front row spot for all the swim platform jumping and just snap away!

These jumping photos from the boat are just priceless. Its so fun to catch some action shots that really capture the fun and excitement of boating.

boat jump collageThey make awesome posts on social media and great memories worth printing and popping in a frame. Making a collage of photos or a series shot showing several jumps at once is definitely worth a place on the wall (at home or on social media!)

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Diane Seltzer

View posts by Diane Seltzer
Diane is the founder of as well as the boating lifestyle site for kids Active in the boating industry, Diane has also led the marketing for multiple recreational boating businesses and startups.
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