Everything You Need to Know About Bareboating with Kids

Check availability and get a price

You are here

Everything you need to know about bareboating with kids

Bareboating with kids in the Whitsundays is a family holiday full of connection, freedom and adventure.

The Whitsundays is the perfect location for bareboating with kids. The islands offer tranquil waters, safe harbours, beautiful weather, pristine environments and loads of opportunities for kid-friendly activities.

If you’ve never been bareboating before or your crew has some skilled sailors, there are ways to tailor your yacht charter holiday to your experience. Your family can explore the world-class Whitsundays together, at your own pace and in your way.

Many of our charterers are families and groups of families who are friends. It’s not uncommon to see three generations or two families with kids hire a charter. If you're planning on sharing a yacht with another family it works out to be a very cost-effective holiday.

bareboating with kids

We’ve gathered some of the common questions we receive from families who are interested in a bareboating with kids. But you first, you might be wondering what is bareboating? So let's start there…

What is Bareboating?

The term bareboat refers to a yacht that doesn’t come with a crew. In other words, it’s a charter yacht you skipper yourself.

Why is Bareboating a great family holiday?

Bareboating in the Whitsundays is the ultimate family holiday. You have the freedom to explore a world-class, pristine location at your own pace and on your own private floating hotel. Sounds good, doesn't it! 

Bareboating holidays are about:

Action -
When you go bareboating there are activities for everyone to enjoy. You’re not just going sailing, you are also going snorkelling, fishing, paddling, hiking and exploring. If you’re in the Whitsundays, you might even enjoy some resort hoping too.

Connection -
Taking your family on a yacht charter is the ultimate bonding experience. You’re all together away from the stresses of everyday life and away from technology. The activates on a bareboat holiday are usually action-orientated, the type of thing that brings everyone together.

Freedom -
Unlike going to a resort or hiring a holiday house, when you hire a private yacht you can see different places from the comfort of your own mobile home on the water. One of our recent charters said that the hardest decision they had to make was if they were going to stay another day at the beautiful beach they were already at or move around the corner to a new one.

bareboating with kids on beach

Is Bareboating with kids safe?

Bareboating is an activity that is safe if you set safety parameters in place for your family.

It is advised that you start talking with your kids about safety on boats before your trip. Take them through their own safety briefing when you first get on the yacht. If necessary, you could also have a mini safety reminder meeting each morning over breakfast to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Some rules for safe boating with kids:

  • All children under 12 must wear a life jacket when on deck or stepping outside the saloon area. 
  • We provide children life jackets in sizes – 10-15kgs; 15-25kgs and 25–40kgs  (these are free of charge, but must be ordered in advance)
  • No children on the foredeck when under sail unless accompanied by an adult.
  • If the weather is too rough, kids stay in the salon or their cabins.
  • Have the older children ensure their younger siblings are wearing their life jackets correctly and make this task their responsibility
  • Teach your kids the age-old saying for walking around the boat "one hand for you, one hand for the boat".

For a more detailed safety post from our experienced skipper Mike you can head over to this post: Safety tips for sailing with kids on a charter

What’s the best age to take the kids on a yacht charter?

There’s no age limit for bringing children on a bareboating holiday and it’s possible to enjoy a family sailing holiday with children of any age.

While some teenagers may scoff at the idea of being on a boat with mum and dad, they will be surprised at how much they enjoy the experience. Sailing is an activity that gets the adrenaline going and gives a huge sense of accomplishment. It is also an activity which they can be in control of. We highly recommend that teenagers are involved in the boat briefing. They are extremely valuable members of the crew.

Primary school-age kids:
Primary school age is the best age for bareboating! They love being involved and feeling like they have meaningful tasks not to mention all of the activities they can do such as snorkelling, jumping off the boat and kayaking.

Babies and toddlers:
Understandably, many families wanting to bareboat with a toddler are concerned if their little ones will be safe. Adult supervision is always required on a boat, so you will need to allocate a member of your crew to babysitting. From all reports young kids sleep well on boats, the rocking has a calming effect.  We have found that the younger kids are the most adaptable and are happy to go on any adventure as their family is with them and they are still in their sleep routines.

What’s the best boat to hire for a bareboating family holiday?

Most families prefer to hire catamarans because they offer more space on deck. You will find that a catamaran is also more stable with larger enclosed deck space. Kids will also love hanging out on the trampoline.

You may be thinking that a yacht is a small space and it could be difficult to have everyone living on top of each other, but you’ll be spending most of your days off the boat and doing activities so you will be able to give each other space.

Does our family need to know how to sail?

A bareboating holiday can be tailored to suit any level of sailing experience. Before you take the yacht on your charter, you will be briefed by a professional who will provide you with easy-to-follow instructions. You will also be given constant radio support throughout your trip.

If you have sailed before and love the adventurous, liveaboard lifestyle then bareboating in the Whitsundays is the holiday for you and your family.

Not Experienced:
If no one in your family has ever sailed, it’s best if you chose a motor cruiser or a catamaran. You don’t need to sail the boat at all, you can simply cruise with the motor on.

If you are still feeling unsure about your ability to manage a bareboat yacht, you can hire a professional sail guide to take you out for a day or two. We also offer flotilla group charters, which is when a group of yachts go out together with a skipper on one boat leading the way.

Talk to our friendly staff and we will be able to adapt your charter to help you feel at ease.

When is the best time to sail the Whitsundays?

The best time to sail the Whitsundays is often said to be spring due to the weather and sailing conditions, however, it is possible to sail in the Whitsundays all year round. Each season has something unique to offer and prices vary throughout the year, so if you are a bargain hunter you may like to consider sailing in summer.

Summer Dec - Feb:
Summer coincides with the wet season which typically runs from December to March. While it can rain heavily, the best thing is the rain is warm and the showers pass quickly. The crowds aren’t around and you will be able to see the waterfalls, rainbows and rainforests in all their glory

Autumn March-May:

The humidity starts to drop and the temperatures become more pleasant. This is a great time of year to sail over the Easter holidays with your kids.  

Winter June - Aug:
Winter is when you can spot the Humpback Whales on migration. The weather isn’t like winter at all with warm days and slightly cooler nights.  Winter in The Whitsundays is when and Airlie Beach comes alive with sailing visitors from all over the world for race week in Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island.

Spring Sept - Nov:
The high season for bareboating in the Whitsundays is from September – October. The skies are clear and the winds are usually moderate. Note that the

starts in November, but all you need to do is hire a stinger suit and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Fishing kids Whitsundays bareboat

What activities are there to do with kids in the Whitsundays?

If you’re bareboating with kids, it’s worth pre-planning activities at some of the islands so that your kids get to experience activities outside of the boat. This is the best way to keep them interested and to avoid cabin fever.

Things to do with kids when you sail the Whitsundays:

Where can we stay with the kids in Airlie Beach after our charter?

There are many family accommodation options in Airlie Beach, but the place that most families rave about is The Big 4 Adventure Park. It's been voted one of the best kid-friendly resorts in Australia. The water park is full of slides and pools for all ages, there are mini-golf, an animal farm and daily activities. It's the perfect place to keep the kids entertained so the parents can relax.

You won't be short of things to do in Airlie Beach with lots of free activities around town for the kids. We've also listed some of our local tips on where to eat around Airlie.

Final tips for bareboating with kids

In a previous post, our experienced skipper Mike shares some tips on bareboating with kids.
Such as:

  • Keep the kids involved with running the boat and teach them what the saying “ship shape” means.
  • Teach them navigation, understanding the tides and winds, how to drop the anchor and how to steer the boat.
  • Let the kids decide where you will go. There will be a limit to where you go depending on the conditions, but there is always a choice to be made.
  • Pack a few boards and card games to play in the evening or the chance of bad weather
  • Give the kids a waterproof camera.
  • Plan a kid-friendly itinerary and ask the kids for their input. If you bring the kids in early to the conversation they will get very excited about the trip

Bareboating in the Whitsundays is a fantastic family holiday full of new experiences and adventure. Please let us know if you have any questions about taking your family on a Bareboating charter, we love seeing several generations experiencing the Whitsundays together.




Join us in the Whitsundays and take your family on a bareboat adventure they will remember

Contact us 1800 075 000 or sales@rentayacht.com.au