Sailing with children can be a magical experience for everyone on board. You’ll make some fantastic family memories, spend quality time together and enjoy seeing your sport afresh, through child’s eyes. Here are our top tips to make sailing with children a stress-free success…
Children sailing with you should have the same gear as you do, including non-slip shoes, sailing gloves, sunglasses, protective clothing and of course a lifejacket. It’s a good idea to get children who are new to sailing to wear new lifejackets in at home, so they are super comfortable for your first trip.
If you’re taking children sailing and want a fun, energised atmosphere you need to involve them. There are lots of ways you can allow children, under your supervision, to get involved with boat handling. Exactly what will obviously depend on your child, their age and interest level but ideas include anything from letting them take the helm to learning basic knots at home and then being allowed to try them on board. Be sure to show your appreciation for your new crew!
Create a real buzz for your children about their first sail – involve them in your research and planning. You could make them a map of your trip and encourage them to keep a journal of your trip(s) and leave space for photographs etc. If you’ll be snorkelling, kids will love looking for different kinds of fish and ticking them off via identification cards or a book.
It’s important to also prepare for the times when there’s not much to spot or your children aren’t actively involved with sailing. It’s useful to bring books, games, playing cards and portable electronics that’ll keep them occupied for an hour or two! There’s nothing quite like a family game of dominos on the deck!
When sailing with children it’s important that your itinerary is flexible. When ashore, your kids will be having a ball at the beach and may well want to stay longer than you’d planned, so it’s nice to have the freedom to let them. Many children will see the sailing as a means of getting from A to B, so your destination(s) will be a real highlight for them. Onshore activities and sightseeing as a family should be an important part of any sailing expedition with children, so plan ahead. If your boat allows, why not take dinghies or kayaks with you so you enjoy some more water sports when you anchor or moor?
Do you sail as a family? Are you planning to? We’d love to hear about your experiences! Please post in the comments box below.
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