On a completely different subject, I personally would not put my kids on a sailboat without a motor. A motor is a serious safety item. Reality is that up in the PNW (yes, we lived there for over a year and sailed the sound), the winds are incredibly light, the currents are very swift, and the water is deadly cold. I can think of a thousand reasons to have a motor, but can't come up with a single reason not to have one.
I dont want nessessarily take this into a serious discussion but I strongly disagree. I dont like that blanket statement. I understand you feelings in the PN and the water temp, but sending kids out in a dinghy without wet suits would be just as serious. Having their motor conk out in a curent filled channel could be s serious situation
A motor is not a necessarily a safety item. I can encourage a false sense of security also. Many times I have seen kids with motors stray far away from there home areas in inflatables or small skiffs...why...because they can,,,the motor will take them there. They will tend to travel out further because they have the motor and we all know motors stop working. Most kids especially of today dont have a clue how to fix a motor.
Also consider that gasoline is dangerous and explosive. Propellers can cut limps and fingers off.
I know that a sail only is not necessarily safe in all situations either, but I do not beleive a motor inherently makes things safer. Especially with younger kids. Liken a little to a bike. Which is safer, and foot driven bike or a motorcycle.
I know you are a thoughfull attentive boater and would never put your kids in harms way and it may not apply to them. I am sure you have gone over a myriad of safety situations with them from fire, handling gasoline, and what to do when they motor dies or doesnt start. I am sure they have pfds, and a portable VHF. Do the have PRB if they travel a long way? I would assume they have with them everything you would have if you were taking a long dinghy ride.
BTW I did put my daughter on a sailboat ( Hobie 16) without a motor. I lived on the beach in a shore community and she went as far as 3 miles out into the ocean whenh she sailed. She had a ditch bag of sorts with a communication device. She needed to go out if I wasnt there with other boats around her also vs doing it alone.
Here in the Chesapeake and we see in NE when we go north you see many sailing schools teaching kids and kids sailing without motors
I agree with Smacky about helicoptering and I certainly think you can overprotect them so as to smother them and you want them to learn their independence so I am not talking about that.,