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post #19 of Old 12-05-2012
JackandJude's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Australia
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Re: Safety netting for kids

Raising children has changed a bit since we sailed the seas with our two, which we had on board from age 2 and 3 until they were 16 and 17. We did not stay in marinas nor just in one quiet bay, but sailed over 100k NM with them to 80 something countries.
Our answer to child safety was, and still is with our 12 grandchildren, - be strict. Yes I know parents today are reluctant to bring out the whip - kidding of course, but a firm strict hand at the start instills values in a child so that just the "voice" controls after that. Remember, we are talking about their life. A wack on their bottoms brought results, and in fact broaden their horizons because eventually they could be trusted, which meant we could take on more dangerous endeavors knowing they would respond to our command to "stop."
Today we go bush with our little ones, and I don't mean down park tracks, but into the wilderness with even our 4 yo. Controlling children, and not letting them control you, enhances their lives because, as I said, you can take on even greater challenges and the kids dig it to bits. And might I add, quickly understand you are protecting them, and so they respond. Our little group became a tight team looking after each other and we went on to sailing high latitude, exploring wild places. But it started at age 2 and 3.

Banyandah, a vessel we still sail today, she's 41 YO, has solid railing. A major bonus. Saved my life many times in wild nights when we actually went forward to change sails. Onto those solid rails we use fishnet as described above, knotted at each mesh corner, and we lashed it to the top rail with 3mm venetian blind cord. At the base we strung taut poly cord which ran stanchion to stanchion through the netting, and at the mid-rail we lashed it with more 3mm cord. Yep! Not all that attractive. But we were cruisers sharing an extraordinary life with our children, not dressing up a marina. When they were really little, we had a net gate across the anchoring area.
Next, of course, teach them to swim straightaway. And talked to them like adults, explaining the dangers, showing them what can happen. At sea, they never left our cockpit ever. Even when young adults, we set limits. When they started taking night watches at about 12, they wore a tether and could not venture outside the cockpit. Discipline is so important with ship board life, be it at sea, alongside, or trooping through a foreign country.
If you'd like to see some photos of our early cruising, go to our website and find the tab PHOTOS. I think the top folder has the earliest voyages. Might even have a photo or two showing our netting.

Cheers from Australia

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