Sailing with kids - tips & tricks
13. August, 2020
The main difference between the expectations of your vacation is that your first preoccupation will be the safety of the kids, but theirs will be the entertainment they want to have.
Before arriving on board it would be good to interest them in the location you will be sailing to, explore the routes even before going there, see what adventures you can find (old mansions or churches to explore, sandcastles to build, interesting museums or just a delicious ice-cream). Interest them in the maps of the locations; this can be also a fun learning experience.
If we’re talking about smaller children, be sure to order a railing (safety) net around your boat. That will make the kids comfortable in moving from the cockpit to the deck and vice versa, and avoid throwing things overboard. And you will be more relaxed.
Don’t forget the basic safety tools on the sea:
- lifejackets – ask your charter provider for adequate size for your kids; don’t forget that they should have it on all the time during sailing and if they are not swimmers keep them if they are moving on the outside on board
- sunscreen (a lot of sunscreens, use the ones with higher factors to protect their gentle skin),
- light clothes with long sleeves to protect them from the sun during sailing (when you sail you always feel a breeze and sometimes it is difficult to notice that you may be getting sunburns).
When packing, don’t overpack, bring the essentials, a few shorts, t-shirts, bathing suits and remember to bring one windproof jacket, a long sleeve shirt (hoodie maybe) and long sports pants. You never know on the sea when will be chilly during the night.
Just slack the mooring ropes and... set sail!Browse Yachts FROM KASTELA
Prepare well if you think that the kids may get seasick although the kids don’t have seasick very often. Keep them on the air as much as possible and have near some small snacks (a bit of chocolate, cookie) and something to drink (tea or a non-carbonated drink,..).
In general, kids will get nervous on long sailing routes so if they are not old enough that can be involved in the sailing manoeuvres, be sure that you have taken some entertainment tools like:
- board games
- books or comics – if your children are too small to read, read to them, this is a strong bonding way
- in the new daily routine, keeping a few regular habits to make them feel secure is very important
These days we cannot ignore the technology completely and kids love them: tablets for cartoons or movies (try to limit their watching or keep them for bad weather days as there is plenty to do and see when it is sunny).
If you will be sailing longer than two weeks and your kids are the “sparkling” ones you can also bring a Lego set if this is the game they are usually in – it can offer hours of entertainment, and some peace for the adults.
If you’re coming with teenagers, try to involve them in the sailing, but not the too difficult things at first. To begin to show them how to adjust and read the GPS plotter and card readings, finish with the harder things (sails lifting…), and you will be getting a young co-skipper in a jiffy and, most importantly, they will not even notice that the time is passing by.
Other entertaining things for all children ages are the inflatable toys (island, swans, donuts...) check what you can rent from your charter provider, or you can buy some of them in supermarkets. Also, you can rent different other water toys:
- Stand up paddles (SUP)
- Snorkelling equipment (be sure that you provide the shoe size for the flippers)
- Windsurf (usually only the basic kit is available)
- Wakeboard, and/or different others.
Don’t forget that for some of them you need to have also the outboard on your dinghy or even a stronger one like 25 HP for the wakeboard, for example, feel free to check with us what is available for your trip.
Also, show them and make them learn the security imperatives, as well as the “do not mess with” things:
- SOS distress signal is not a joke,
- don’t lift up the anchor just for a joke, as it’s “just” a cute button,
- careful with the electricity and appliances if the boat is on 12V,
- always check that the fenders are on the correct position,
- waves and knives do not go together (if you’re hungry during sailing, would be better to take a cookie )
- VHF channels are not for fun,…
Teaching, your children will become more responsible and independent, more curious and capable. They will surprise you in more ways you may think and you’ll often be prouder of them than you ever been before.
If you are sailing with the children for the first time and you’re a bit worried, we suggest booking also a skipper for your first journey. Even if you have valid and approved sailing certificates, you will be able to be there for your children every step of the way during the sailing, with strong winds, waves, moving ground, all the strange and new things they will be experiencing for the first time. You will also be there for them to guide them no matter how they react at first and lead them towards a happy sailing vacation.
And for the end, be prepared to see the worst from your kids during the time on board, but also be prepared to see some new and amazing things from them as they will be growing to be true sailors with your guidance.