Kids on Board: Family Sailing Holidays

Sailing holidays are a beautiful way to spend a true family vacation in some of the world’s best travel destinations.

When you’re out on the water exploring island paradise on a boat, you have limited access to the internet and power. So, unfortunately for them, the kids are forced to put down their iPads and actually interact with you. They will have nothing to do but participate in the real world, enjoy the company of their parents and experience new adventures.

With kids on board, you can enjoy the ultimate escape, where true bonding and reconnection manifests through beach-side activities and coastal living.

kids on board

However, whether they be big or small, young or old, there are some things to be aware of when taking your kids on board and planning the ultimate family sailing holiday.

When sailing with children, there are a few basic things we recommend:

  • Plan shorter daily sailing distances – spending hours battling nothing but open water is just asking for screams of “WE’RE BORED!”.
  • Stick to safer sailing areas – high wind, large wave breaks and fear is not a great combination for the little ones.
  • Allow plenty of time for onshore excursions and swimming breaks.
  • Be sure you’re sailing with a confident and competent skipper.
  • Snorkelling, dinghy rides and landing nets are perfect play companions.
  • Make sure you choose a boat with sufficient space for the whole family.
kids on board

You should choose an appropriate sailing ground based on the age of your children. For example, when sailing with small children, marinas are best for evening moorings in a safe harbour with access to facilities. If you’re travelling with teenagers, encourage them to get involved in helping you anchor in bays and coves, and in sailing activities throughout the day. With their help, however, comes greater attention, direction and patience.

After boarding the boat, sit down with your kids to discuss how the boat operates and the many safety issues that may arise.

  • Children under 12 must be wearing lifejackets in the following circumstances (even if they can swim):
    • Whenever the boat is less than 4.8 metres long
    • Whenever they are outside the cabin on a boat that is from 4.8 metres to 8 metres long
  • Explain how to use the lifejackets, ensure the life jackets fit well, and encourage them to wear them at all times.
  • Discuss the importance of applying suncream, wearing a hat and keeping hydrated.
  • Explain to them how they should react if a boat capsizes, and what they should do in case they need to be rescued.
  • Explain how the bathroom works and where to find things in the kitchen and the cabins.
  • Emphasise how important it is to keep all items secure while the boat is moving.
  • Show your child the boat and explain where the emergency equipment is located.
  • Show your child how to load and stabilise a dinghy.
  • Explain that no body parts may be hanging off the edges of the boat while sailing.
  • Explain that children should never stay on board without an adult.

Bringing kids on board may require a little more responsibility and attention to detail, but it’s also a lot more fun than your regular old hotel stay. The kids will be mesmerised and occupied all day long, leaving you with happy children and more time to spend on enjoying the experience.

We’ve got some fantastic family holiday deals running at the moment, so head to our family holiday destinations page to see what’s available!