Tips for Sailing with Kids Safely

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Sailing with kids on a bareboat charter is a fantastic way to bond as a family, offering quality time away from screens and creating unforgettable memories. With proper planning and a few simple rules, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone on board. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you […]

Sailing with kids on a bareboat charter is a fantastic way to bond as a family, offering quality time away from screens and creating unforgettable memories. With proper planning and a few simple rules, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone on board. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you get started

sailing with kids

Learn a healthy respect for the Ocean

Teach kids (and even the adults) a healthy respect for the water, wind and surrounding elements.  Don’t scare the children; just remind them that falling into the ocean from a boat is not the same as falling into a pool. They may be more comfortable with their own snorkel gear that they can practice with before the holiday – in the pool or even in the bathtub.

Safety First: Setting Ground Rules

Before setting sail, establish some basic safety rules for the children. Discuss these rules before the trip, and remind them each morning as needed to ensure they become second nature.

  • Life Jackets: All children under 12 must wear a life jacket when on deck or outside the saloon area. We provide life jackets in various sizes (10-15kg, 15-25kg, and 25-40kg) at no extra charge, but they must be ordered in advance.
  • Foredeck Restrictions: No children on the foredeck while under sail unless accompanied by an adult.
  • Weather Precautions: In rough weather, children should stay in the saloon or their cabins. The saloon offers a smoother ride and visibility, which can be more comfortable.
  • Older Sibling Responsibility: Encourage older children to help ensure their younger siblings are wearing their life jackets correctly, fostering a sense of responsibility.

Respect for the Ocean

Teach children to respect the water, wind, and surrounding elements. Emphasize that falling into the ocean is not the same as falling into a pool. Familiarize them with their own snorkel gear beforehand, whether in a pool or a bathtub, to build confidence.

Familiarization with the Boat

While at the dock, explore the vessel with the children. Explain different boat terms, show them handgrips and handrails, and practice moving around the boat safely using the saying, “one hand for you, one hand for the boat.” Show them how to use essential equipment and where they will need to be when the boat is moving.

Tips for chartering with younger children (under 6):

  • Explain Procedures: Walk them through the sailing and anchoring process so they understand when you might be busy. Involve them where possible to make them feel included.
  • Steering Fun: Let them sit in your lap while steering (conditions permitting) and explain what you’re doing. Ask them to watch for other boats, giving them a sense of importance.
  • Teach Boat Basics: Explain the main parts of the vessel and their functions, then have the child explain it to a sibling. This reinforces their understanding.
  • Knot Tying: Teach them basic knot-tying skills and have them practice.
  • Marine Life Education: After snorkeling, discuss the different fish species they’ve seen.
  • Tidy Up: Encourage them to keep their quarters clean, explaining that a tidy boat is a safe boat.

Tips for chartering with children aged 6 and above:

  • Involve in Navigation: Include them in planning the navigation for the next day. Listen to their suggestions and explain the reasoning behind decisions.
  • Assist with Sailing Tasks: Have them help with steering, explaining wind and compass directions, and assist with winches and coiling lines.
  • Radio Communication: Involve them in using the radio to communicate your location.
  • Tender Captain: Older children can steer the tender and take on the role of ‘Tender Captain’.

 

sailing with kids

General tips for all ages

  • Short Sail Times: Keep sail times short. A four-hour sail can feel very long for children. Have plenty of snacks and water, and explain the importance of keeping litter in the bin.
  • Free Time: Everyone needs downtime. Include activities chosen by the children to keep them engaged and happy.
  • Bring Entertainment: Pack family board games, coloring books, and water toys. Renting equipment like kayaks or paddleboards can add fun to the trip (ensure kids wear life jackets and go in pairs).
  • Get their Input: Ask your children for their input into the day’s activities.  This will make them feel special if you can include one specific activity from each child on each day of the charter

Lead by Example and Have Fun

Remember, the key to a successful sailing trip with kids is to have fun. Stay calm, positive, and enthusiastic. Your attitude will set the tone for the trip, ensuring everyone has a great time and looks forward to future sailing adventures.

Sailing with kids can be one of the most rewarding family activities. Safety is important, but it should not deter you from experiencing the joy of sailing together. If you have any safety concerns or questions, our team at Whitsundays Rent a Yacht is here to help. We tailor chartering holidays to meet everyone’s needs and experience levels.

sailing with kids

If you have any safety concerns or questions, get in touch with our team at Whitsundays rent a Yacht, we tailor chartering holidays to everyone’s concerns and experience.

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Australia

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Whitsunday Rent a Yacht acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and in particular the Traditional Owners of the Whitsunday's Region, the Gia, Juru and Ngaro People; We recognise their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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