We New Yorkers are surrounded by water, constantly going over, under and around it. But most of us — with the exception of many Staten Island commuters, of course — don’t really spend a lot of time on the water. Taking a boat ride, be it big or small, powered by wind, feet, or diesel fuel is a great way to enjoy the city with kids. Here are some of the coolest ways to go boating in NYC, for all kinds of reasons. Click through to see our seafaring picks!

For Speed Demons: The Beast & The Shark

If you and your little speed demons want to take a ride that will blow your lips back from your teeth and get you all wet, try Circle Line’s speedboat, the Beast, which sets off on the Hudson from 42nd Street and can reach 45 mph, or the Downtown Circle Line’s the Shark, which departs from South Street Seaport and can reach 35 mph.  Either way, your trip will be wet and wild. (Note: children must be 40 inches tall to ride.)

photo: Smart Destinations via Flickr

Where is your favorite place to explore the seas around the Big Apple?

—Gretchen Kunz