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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising and Sailing with Children
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


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  #21  
Old 09-30-2013
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Re: Introducing sailing to the kids

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Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
I highly suggest finding a way to lock the companion way doors from the inside. Having our child crawl out of them when we were not paying attention/asleep was a constant nightmare for us.
Our ladder up the companionway pops right out and would prevent our 4 year old from leaving the cabin at night.

We're out several times a week with our little guy, and have been since he was 3. A typical day for us is sailing for a few hours to an anchorage, then swimming or fishing for a few hours, and then either spending the night or sailing back to the mooring. If spending the night, we anchor near an island where we can go ashore and swim from a beach and explore around.

At this age, my boy isn't really into the sailing itself, but he loves the whole boating experience. When we are sailing, he may spend an hour on deck with us, before heading into the cabin to have a snack and watch a movie. Once we get to where we're going, the ipad goes away and that's when the fun really begins for him.

I suspect that in the next few years the sailing will become more interesting for him, but for now, he has learned to be very comfortable on the boat, and we get to enjoy a whole bunch of great quality family time. The boat has been hands down the best investment we have made for our family.
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Old 10-05-2013
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Re: Introducing sailing to the kids

I just learned to sail myself but my 3 boys (7, 10, 13) are my crew when I go out on the clubs J22s. They have picked up the different things they need to do quickly. The 10 and 13 year old man the jib sheets and my 7 year old can hold a course long enough for me to get the sails up. It's been awesome for the limited number of times we've been out so far but I see it being something we do all the time together in the future. They seem to love every aspect of it so far and I hope they keep loving it.
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Old 10-06-2013
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Re: Introducing sailing to the kids

Our daughter sailed with us from the age of 6 weeks and up. When she was big enough, about 6-7 yrs as I recall, we got her into the summer sailing camp run by our Club that used Opti's, sailing in very protected waters (initial training as to turning the boat turtle, righting it and bailing it out was conducted in the Club pool to the great amusement of the onlookers and the squeals and laughter of the kids themselves!). She actually became pretty good at it and a big help was a book we gave her:

"Saraha's Boat", "A Young Girl Learns the Art of Sailing" by Douglas Alvord. (ISBN 0-88448-117-4).

It is an easy read for an 8-12 year old and filled with lots of illustrations and helped make a lot of what she was learning at sailing camp clearer. (It also helped my wife understand what was going on a little better!) She became a very good crew and helmswoman on our boat and since has made several major passages including a trip from St. Martin to Trinidad with 9 other kids when she was a teenager as part of a BroadReach Expedition.

FWIW...
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Old 01-23-2014
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Re: Introducing sailing to the kids

Great info in this thread, thanks to all the contributors. I am looking forward to my first little-un arriving in a few months, and getting him and the missus on the boat is going to be a hurdle I want to cross as soon as possible.
Of course a wife, baby and two big dogs is once more going to mean a cramped boat (went from a 24 to my 27 to accommodate the first big dog, then we got another one, then the news of the pregnancy, and I can't afford a bigger boat so there you go).
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Old 01-23-2014
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Re: Introducing sailing to the kids

We bought a Catalina 27 and started sailing with our then 2 year old and infant sons about 1.5 years ago on the Chesapeake. The kids are highly adaptable and resilient. As others mentioned, keeping it fun is key. We take them for ice cream, bought a kayak, swim, etc. We usually depart right before nap time and enjoy a few hours of sailing while the kids nap. They sleep better on the boat then on land even with the engine running (they sleep through engine/sail transitions!). The kids also love all the wildlife.

The 27 is just big enough to provide all the kid "infrastructure" to make cruising around comfortable (place to nap, potty, shower, cook, etc.).

We keep an iPad on board for movies, great when it's rainy and rough

Installing lifeline netting this year, but we always tie a line to their life jackets and a cleat when outside of the cabin.

It's a great way to spend time as a family, travel, explore, and enjoy the outdoors. So much to see and learn. Now that the kids are 3.5 and 1.5, we are looking forward to the older one wanting to "help" around the boat.

Babies and kids love boats.

Josh
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  #26  
Old 03-19-2014
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Re: Introducing sailing to the kids

Hi everyone,
We have a 43 ft Swan which we spent 3 months on last year in the Spring sans kids. I was pregnant at the time with our first and now our daughter is 7 months old. We want to take her sailing with us this Spring/summer. Brian, I will look up the life jackets you recommended, thank you. In terms of making a crib for her, we were thinking the best place to put her would be in the main berth, near us. There are side benches with pillows adjacent to our bed, but I'm not sure how to make that into a crib. Our captain helps us sail the boat, so I can stay more focused on our daughter throughout the day. Other than doing day sails and seeing different spots along the water, what else do you recommend doing with a soon-to-be crawling infant on board? What other safety equipment should we consider? Thanks for your input. Orit
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Old 03-20-2014
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Re: Introducing sailing to the kids

Orit, welcome aboard! I know you specifically asked Brian, and he's a great resource, but he hasn't been around that much lately. I'll take a stab at an answer; hopefully he'll chime in soon and correct anything that he disagrees with.

Can you attach something like a lee cloth to the front of the side bench to turn that into a sleeping crib? Maybe use a track at the base (something like Track & Roller Shades ? Sailrite) so the force is evenly distributed, and so you don't have pointy parts sticking out when you remove it. A few snaps along the sides should hold it fairly well, especially if they are the "lift the dot" kind. Twist-lock would work too, but I'd be afraid of bumping into them in rough weather.

For a play crib, I've read a lot of people use a typical playpen (e.g.
Amazon.com: Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go Travel Playard, Go Green: Baby Amazon.com: Graco Pack 'n Play On the Go Travel Playard, Go Green: Baby


).

As to "stuff" to do with her when she's awake and as she gets more mobile, we never tried it (our kids were 3 and 5 when we got our first boat) but I've seen pictures of something like this
Amazon.com: Graco Bumper Jumper in Little Jungle: Baby Amazon.com: Graco Bumper Jumper in Little Jungle: Baby


hanging from either a halyard or the boom.
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Re: Introducing sailing to the kids

Hi Jim,
Thanks for the great advice! Do you have any info on infant size life jackets? It seems that the Mustang Lil Legends Life Jacket is no longer available for purchase, which makes me nervous. Was it recalled? Any advice on the matter would be much appreciated.

Thanks everyone,
Orit
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Re: Introducing sailing to the kids

Orit, try here:
Mustang Lil' Legends Infant Floater Life Jacket / PFD

You can try calling Defender to find out why it's on close-out. I suspect Mustang is coming out with a newer version. I am not aware of the PFD's being recalled, but it's possible.

Aha...a quick search of Mustang's site says that it is being replaced:
Lil' Legends Infant Vest MV3150

UPDATE: The new version looks nice. According to Mustang, it is cooler (not as hot) and gives kids more mobility. That would be a HUGE improvement for my kids.
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  #30  
Old 03-20-2014
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Re: Introducing sailing to the kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by oritmanham View Post
Hi everyone,
We have a 43 ft Swan which we spent 3 months on last year in the Spring sans kids. I was pregnant at the time with our first and now our daughter is 7 months old. We want to take her sailing with us this Spring/summer. Brian, I will look up the life jackets you recommended, thank you. In terms of making a crib for her, we were thinking the best place to put her would be in the main berth, near us. There are side benches with pillows adjacent to our bed, but I'm not sure how to make that into a crib. Our captain helps us sail the boat, so I can stay more focused on our daughter throughout the day. Other than doing day sails and seeing different spots along the water, what else do you recommend doing with a soon-to-be crawling infant on board? What other safety equipment should we consider? Thanks for your input. Orit
Fabulous news! We need more families out here. First of all, just want to let you know a couple of things: First, BoatUS has contracted me to write an article on some of the very things you just asked. I would take a look for the article when it comes out (I don't know Pub date yet, but I think it is a Cover/Feature). I will let you know. Second, SSCA asked me to put together a webinar on raisin children afloat. Might also be something for you to check out. So, back to your questions:

You need to find a way to lock that companionway from the inside if you do not already. THat was always our biggest nightmare as parents and the companionway ladder is probably the biggest hazard you will be facing as young parents on the boat (kids love to climb.. just aren't very good at it). Our rule was always, "NO PLAYING OR STANDING IN THE COMPANIONWAY!"

Things to do? Short rides. We carried a pack n play which seems to be discontinued now. However, Chicco has one that looks pretty good. Keep it small, very portable, and if possible, with a full zip-up mosquito screen.

Once they start walking, it starts getting more fun. One thing you can do is at the beach. Get a net (the ones we used were about 3 inches by 4 inches) and a large, clear, disposable container like the Ziplok containers. Walk with your child through the water and scoop up the dirt and dump it the clear container. It will be amazing what all you find!! Older kids enjoy this too.

Swim, swim, swim! It is never too early to start teaching your kid to swim. They will have fun with it and it may save their life one day.

Avoid long boat rides. This becomes even more of an issue the older they get.

Keep a set of toys just for the boat. Let the child pick them out (especially if they are new). It makes them want to go to the boat just to see their toys.

Watch out for heat at this age... especially in the portable pack and play. And lather them up with Waterbabies SunBlock. Also buy the stick to use on their cheeks and ears.

It is very important to show the child what jellyfish are and to avoid them... even if they look dead on the beach. Worst sting my boy ever got was a Man-O-War that he stepped on at the beach in the Tortugas. Those types of things will really make them weary of the water.

Get some water balls. THey are cheap and fun to throw. We also used beachballs, but they often liked to fly away.

Coloring books.

There is a DVD called Ocean Life A-Z. Fabulous DVD for both the boat and the house. You will love it (and will probably learn something yourself).

That's a start. Lots of other things I can help with... just ask. THere is a LOT more stuff in the BoatUS article. It is broken down by age groups and currently has over 60 things to do with your child aboard.

Take care. Again, let me know if you have any questions.

Brian
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