Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Anacortes PNW
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Re: New Father...Advice needed on sailing with kids
The age you are planning on going out is a good one. I think it's going to be a long time before sailing with the kids will be as easy as when there was only one in a car seat. We took our little guy out at 7 weeks if I recall for his first overnight. It worked great. Here's my list of pointers based on our experience:
-Use a car seat when underway, docking or anchoring. Sailing is best done around naptime and if the engine is on, they'll likely sleep well.
-Create a way to strap the car seat down, or otherwise secure it.
-Have the car seat visible from the cockpit if it is below.
-set up the boat for single-handing
-have a USCG certified vest aboard (and in the tender) to fulfill the letter of the law, but we didn't have the little one wear it because he was always in a car seat or strapped to momma in a chest carrier.
-We prefered to have the baby strapped to momma in a carrier when transferring from the boat to tender. I agree this is the most stressful part. The plan was, if she falls overboard, she would float on her back. Typically we don't fall overboard while getting in the tender though and the baby is very well secured in the front pack. When transferring to or from a dock we used the car seat.
-For sleeping we had the opposite problem, too cold. We chose to have our little one co-sleep with momma for warmth. If you don't co-sleep I wouldn't have them sleep the whole night in the car-seat. I'd get a cheap bassinet or something flat.
-We never once put the lifejacket on him, as he wasn't mobile and we firmly believe that the secured car seat or secured frontpack was a safer option. I was willing to make my case to the USCG if boarded and accept a fine if levied. I did always carry a USCG certified vest with me, and if it came down to it, I would be willing to argue that the USCG regs only state the requirement to have the appropriate sized vest aboard, and say nothing about wearing it. Only state law (which it is not their duty to enforce) state that the kiddo should be wearing it.
-If you do want to use a lifejacket I would highly recommend the salus bijoux that PaulinVictoria lined to. I don't own one (yet) but from all my research it appears to be the only one that is truly designed for a small infant. It's not USCG approved though.
Happy sailing, you guys will do just fine!
PS Sail as much as possible before the little one becomes a toddler!
I have a sauna on my boat, therefore I win.
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