Taking Children on a Cruise

Many of our clients wonder if it's a good idea to bring their children along, not just because of obvious safety issues, but also because they believe the children will become stuck on the boat and ruin their vacation. Of course, this is feasible, but in our experience, children learn to be on the yacht, respect the boat's regulations, like taking responsibility, and behave better when given responsibilities. In a nutshell, children enjoy boats!

Sailing with Children: 10 Sailboat Lessons for Your Toddlers

Sail boating with kids is a lot of fun, but it also requires a lot of patience and time. If you want your children to enjoy sailing and become self-reliant and safe, the greatest thing you can do is to teach them a few basic skills.

1. PFDs are there for you.
There is a life jacket requirement for all children aged 12 and younger who are travelling in an ocean-going vessel. If your children are older or the boat is not moving, you should still introduce them to the concept of wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) and demonstrate how to put one on. If you can't locate one that fits and feels good, you're in for a fight. Teaching your children to swim at a young age is highly recommended.

2. Hands inside
t's a bad idea to use your hands to stop or fend off a boat, no matter how small it is. In the event of a collision, remind them that the hull is only made of fibreglass, and that they should thus keep their bodies within the boat at all times, especially when docking.

3. Away from Winches, Keep Your Fingers
Educate children on how to properly wrap a line around a winch and how to safely release it with their fingers held aside and outward. The windlass is a winch, so show them how to use it when anchoring and how to avoid it until they've been instructed.

4. Awful feeling of being seasick
Anyone can get seasick, and it's not a sign of weakness. Encourage your children to tell you if they're feeling under the weather, rather than burying their heads in the sand. Go above, not below, to alleviate their discomfort. This will help them feel better.

Above all, students should be aware that they have a responsibility to express their feelings.

5. Observing the Behaviour of Older People
The brightness from the ocean and the sails on sailboats may be powerful and destructive, so make sure your children know how important it is to wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Dehydration may be stealthy and dangerous, so make sure your children have their own water bottle and that they drink frequently to avoid it.

6. A VHF radio is required for this activity.
The VHF radio may look like a toy to young children, but it isn't. Teach children not to play with it, and emphasize the necessity of it in good communication and in calling for assistance. As a precaution in case the worst happens, and you become incapacitated on a boat trip, teach them how to utilize Channel 16 to place an emergency call without utilizing the microphone.

7. Organizing a Training Course
navigating a boat when accompanied by a small child
You must be able to maintain a course in order to sail or power your way to any place. Children should be taught how to fix on a stationary object on the horizon and also how to sail using the compass as a guide. It's a talent that could come in handy down the road, and youngsters make excellent little autopilots when they master it.

8. What's Up with the Wind?
Identifying the direction of the wind and how it affects a boat is a sailor's first skill. If you find the wind, try to guess how strong it is in either mph or on the Beaufort scale by pointing it out to the group. Sailors who have a solid sense of direction will be better equipped in the future.

9. Indicators of Wind Direction
It's time to teach them about the points of sail and how the wind affects the boat based on the direction of sail once they've mastered wind direction. While it can take a lifetime to master the art of sail trim, the basics are easy enough for a child to grasp and offer them a sense of accomplishment.

10. When it comes to learning,
it's important to know how much your kids can handle in a particular length of time. At some point, one of you will become tired of sailing school, and it's a good idea for youngsters to have pals along to keep them occupied. It's important for kids to know that sailing is a social activity from the outset.

Boating Tips for Grown-Ups

Your choice of boat depends on the age of your children and whether you already possess a boat. Toddlers can crawl and learn to walk on a catamaran's level deck, and they're less likely to get seasick on a cat than on a monohull that is buffeted by the wind. So, if you're looking to buy or rent a boat, think about how you can make it more kid-friendly.