Sailing With Kids
There are several things to bear in mind to make boating as a family, safe and enjoyable, expecially when sailing with kids. There are plenty of ways to improve safety abroad such as a wide range of RYA courses that children can partake in with their family. The number one concern for families with kids on a boat, especially young kids, is to keep them safe.
Whether on the pontoon, anchored or whilst out on the water, you need to ensure that when sailing with kids, they’re comfortable and safe. Child sailing lessons and getting youngsters involved in age-appropriate tasks will help them to feel like a valued member of the crew, whilst teaching them responsibility.
It’s important to establish boating safety rules and procedures to reduce the chance of trouble or injury during your time out on the water.
Sailing Child Safety
Many people wonder if sailing with children and babies is safe. As with kids of any age, boating with a baby is safe as long as you take the proper safety precautions. Use an infant life jacket that is sized correctly for a baby. Never cruise with your baby strapped into a car seat or any other devices that don’t float.
For sailing child safety, get them used to wearing life jackets around the water which should ideally be on, before they reach the pontoon or marina. Younger children have a tendency to run when excited, or become distracted and fall into the water. Always have a few additional lifejackets in case they want to bring friends out on the boat. Child sailing gear and lifejackets should always have safety harnesses. Children can then be attached to a fixed point using a D ring or jackstays, depending on their age.
Ensuring that children can swim is one of the best ways to be safe around water. Of course accidents can still happen, but both you and the child will feel safer and more confident following lessons.
Try and have as many hands on hand to help as possible. If you can invite family and friends to sail with you, do it. They can entertain children, whilst you concentrate on tasks around the boat, like mooring, setting sails and setting anchors. To be safe, ensure that kids know to remain seated and keep hands away from ropes, winches and other moving parts of the boat.
Child Sailing Boat Entertainment
Bring things to keep the kids entertained such as their favourite toys, books and colouring – even iPads can keep them occupied. Keep them interested by getting them involved if possible, get them to take in the scenery, or explain what (and why) you’re doing. Show them charts and talk about navigation.
Remember to dress them appropriately for the weather; they will soon fall out of love with boating if they get too cold, or sun-burnt. Keep them wrapped up warm on cold days and definitely apply sun cream during the summer, whilst keeping them in the shade with lots of water. The sea breeze will keep them cooler than normal, so sunburn will quickly creep up.
At Bacchus Yachting, we allow children to take part in sailing courses, if accompanied with a parent or guardian. The RYA have strict recommendations for the minimum ages required for these courses. Local sailing clubs also organise activities specifically for children, as do Sea Scouts and Sea Cadets.
Ultimately boating and cruising with children is a fun way for the family to spend time together, whilst being active. If you establish rules of safety at the beginning, it’ll ensure everyone feels comfortable and has a great time sailing with family.