Tips for Sailing with Kids
• Teach kids to swim.
• Establish safety rules and then enforce them.
• Look around your sailboat for any improvements that need to be made to
keep the kids safe.
• Let the kids help plan each day’s route.
• Teach the kids to steer, read a compass, follow a chart, and cleat down
and throw lines.
• Put kids on watches and rotate the watches.
• Get input from the whole family, including the kids.
• Keep a supply of books available in reference to sailing and your
• Encourage a child’s natural sequence of events. Often what begins as play
evolves into a learning activity.
• Teach basic piloting and navigation as soon as your child shows interest.
• Look at the stars of the night sky and interest kids in how mariners of
old navigated by the stars.
• Emphasize the importance of privacy and alone-time.
• Give each child a “Do not Disturb” indicator so they can get their privacy
and alone-time when they want it.
• Invite your children’s friends to join your family on cruises.
• Encourage letter writing.
• Bring instruments along for people to play and sing on board.
• Include state or national parks on your itineraries. When at the parks
have a ranger give a full tour or explore the park with plenty of
• Have each child keep a combination diary/log/photo album about their
• When planning a passage, keep sailing time to several hours with breaks in
• Buy a separate life jacket for each child, so the life jacket will fit
comfortably and stay stylish enough for the child to want to wear it.
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