Even for the most seasoned of sailors, choosing the right yacht that meets your family’s needs on holiday is essential, whether in Greece, the Amalfi Coast or the Caribbean. We are often asked whether it is safe to take a young child sailing. This does, of course, depend on the yacht and location, but here are our top tips for sailing with children.
It’s important to select a boat that is going to work for the kids. You don’t want them to get scared with the boat heeling over too much or them feeling unsafe. Therefore, I’d recommend a catamaran for first-timers, particularly as these are considerably more stable than a monohull. With a catamaran, the salon is spacious, providing the kids with a good amount of space in case of bad weather. In a monohull, the salon is downstairs with little outside visibility, which may result in seasickness.
If you have very young children on board, it may be a good idea to install a safety net before you start sailing. If you need this, it is best to add this option well in advance to avoid the yacht manager running out. The safety net offers good protection for children playing or sunbathing on the deck, and it stops any sliding overboard. A harness is an extra safety measure you might consider for protecting your kids when sailing.
It is becoming more and more common for modern sailing yachts to have a generator, allowing them to have air conditioners and ceiling fans. This is of huge importance when with children as it allows you to quickly regulate their temperature in particularly hot weather and during the warmest part of the day.
It is essential to advise your broker about the age of your children to ensure the owner has life jackets in your child’s size. It is always a good idea to consider buying your own life jackets, particularly as children will wear these more than adults. A more comfortable life jacket that fits well will encourage children to wear life jackets at all times outside.
Depending on your location, there may be long distances between certain destinations. Therefore, it’s always good to consider your itinerary to allow often breaks. In case of bad weather, it is always good to have a back-up itinerary. In situations where cruising does not permit stops, consider playing games with your children or giving them colouring.
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