Sailing is a great activity to do with your children - you’re outdoors, on the move, getting lots of fresh air - it’s the perfect combination for a family trip that everyone will enjoy! It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to experience life on the water and fully embrace nature.
If you’ve never taken your kids on the water before and are a little apprehensive about the challenges and safety, we’ve put together our top tips for sailing with kids to ensure you all enjoy your sailing adventure without any worries.
Talk to your child before heading out
There are no regulations on the minimum age of a yacht passenger, so it’s up to you as their parent to decide if it will be a safe and enjoyable experience for you all.
It’s a good idea to talk to your child before getting onboard, so they can understand basic safety and run through what you’ll expect of their behaviour, such as no leaning overboard, and to sit down unless they are told otherwise.
Child safety onboard
A lifejacket is an absolute must for a sailing trip with children. Kids life jackets are available in all sizes and it’s important to get the right fit for your little one. It is advised that everyone, especially children, wear their lifejacket for the whole time they’re onboard.
If you’ve booked a sailing charter, speak to the company in advance to see if they can provide these for your children. Another option could be putting up safety nets to ensure your kids don’t fall overboard, especially at the front of the boat.
Take plenty of supplies with you
Make sure you take plenty of essential supplies with you when you’re heading out sailing with kids, including…
Sunscreen - kids' skin can burn quicker than adult skin, so be on top of applying a high SPF sunscreen regularly and take a hat for them to wear. On a hot summer's day keep them out of the sun at intervals.
Medicine - Make sure you take medicine with you that your kids respond well to, especially ones for headaches, stomach aches and motion sickness. If you haven’t sailed with your children before you won’t know how your child might react to being on the water, so it’s best to be prepared.
Food and drink - Take enough snacks and drinks onboard to keep your little ones well fed and watered during your sailing trip.
Keep them entertained
Making sure your kids are entertained will ensure you all have a more relaxed and enjoyable time onboard. Make learning about the sea and the boat fun with classic games such as Eye Spy, or guessing who is on other boats you pass.
If you’ve got the space it’s good to create a play area for your child - the indoor table or their room onboard for example. Bring colouring, some of their favourite toys or perhaps even a mobile device to watch cartoons if they need some down time.
Plan your routes
To start with a full day of sailing might be overwhelming for your kids, so it's a good idea to make your first trips short and sweet to get them used to being on the water.
Take some time to go to the beach and play on land, as they may find the boat pretty confined to start with. They will get used to sailing pretty quickly if you involve them - maybe let them take the rudder for a bit under supervision.
If you’re keen to get out on the water with your family, but don’t have your own boat, why not consider a yacht charter? You can review all the options in your area using our free and easy search facility.