Going on a trip with kids is never easy but it’s a whole different story when you add sailing to the mix. You have to make sure that you keep an eye on everybody and that everyone remains safe. One or two of your children might get sick. Going sailing with the family can be one of the best experiences but if you are unprepared, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. Thankfully, there are things you can do to avoid incidents and keep your sanity.
Here are a few of them.
Get the Right Safety Gear
The first you have to make sure of is that the perimeter of the boat is protected by a railing safety net. This way, your children will be more comfortable moving around. You also have to make sure that everyone has the equipment they need.
Everyone should have a lifejacket and wear it at all times. Make sure that they’re coast guard approved and that your children try them before you buy them. Don’t go by the recommendations on the tag. You want the lifejacket to fit as snuggly as possible.
Now would also be the time to look for a handheld GPS. The top handheld models will have nice displays that are easy to read at any time of the day and in all conditions. They should also have good battery life and be waterproof. Also, make sure that it will float, as some models are made specifically for this.
Bring Some Fun
Don’t assume that your children will automatically love being at sea. You need to bring some entertainment with you if you want to keep them happy and you don’t want to deal with tantrums.
Board games are a great idea. This will also keep them occupied if you decide to stop to do some fishing, for instance. Cards or coloring books are other good options.
Pack some things so they can have fun in the water as well. Children of all ages will love inflatable toys like donuts and swans. Your charter provider should also have a few things you could rent as well. You can look for things like kayaks, snorkeling equipment, or wakeboards.
Get Your Older Kids Involved
If you’re going to be sailing with teenagers, get them involved as much as you can. You can first start by teaching them how to use a GPS monitor, for instance. You can then show them how to tune a sailboat mast. The more they learn, the better they’ll be on subsequent trips and you’ll soon have an expert crew with you every time you sail.
Teach Your Kids
You also have to make sure that you get your children prepared for different conditions. If you can, try to go for a few visits to a pool and see how comfortable they are in a lifejacket. Make sure that they understand the difference between being in a pool and swinging in an open body of water.
They have to understand how currents work. One of the things you could do is visit a waterpark with the family before you leave. Most of them will have activities that replicate currents. This could be a great way to see how they react to water and if they’re ready for the adventure.
These are all things that you’ll need to have down if you decide to go sailing with children. Follow these tips to the letter and make sure that you get them prepared before they leave. Also, make sure you have a clear set of rules to follow.