New Father...Advice needed on sailing with kids - Page 2 - SailNet Community
Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.

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post #11 of 53 Old 08-12-2014
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Re: New Father...Advice needed on sailing with kids

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TomMaine/PaulinVictoria...at the ages you took them out, did you find that they would be scared at all? Obviously it will be a very calm day the first day out.

TomMaine - Did you continue to take them out at all ages, and if so, did you find that taking them out early introduced them to sailing better? Were there any ages that it doesn't seem to work quite as well?

Thanks again.
I don't recall any fear from our babies, sailing. But we were coastal sailors and picked our weather. I think parental fear is the bigger problem. If you're the one picking the weather and the extent of your sailing, be very sure your partner is 100% sure as well.

I think sailing with babies and then young children made me a much better sailor. Our daughter became prone to seasickness pretty early on. Her mom has the same ear. That taught me a lot. Even now, I enjoy sailing for the least experienced person on board. If I can show them the best of sailing, I please myself.

Introducing them to sailing at the beginning made them natural sailors. I built this sailing dinghy just after they were born mostly so we could expose them to sailing themselves as early as they wanted to do it. Both our son and daughter started sailing the dinghy very young. Here's my daughter taking a friend sailing. This is pretty light air for kids this age.



Here's my daughter last season sailing her college roommate around Cuttyhunk Pond. They had both just graduated.

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post #12 of 53 Old 08-13-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: New Father...Advice needed on sailing with kids

Engineer - Thanks for the response! A dinghy w/ outboard is definitely something we are looking into for next summer for trips to the shore/beach. How old was your youngest when you first did an overnight...if you have?

Tom/Maine & Paulin Victoria - I'm happy to hear that fear/being afraid isn't really an issue for a baby...makes sense as they probably haven't developed that yet, but as a new father, EVERYTHING is a learning process for me...

Our plan is to take her out a few times this fall, when it is cooler, on a nice calm 5-10 knot day. May just sail under headsail for a bit at first, for simplicity's sake. Trips would be short...maybe a few hours only. Obviously a life vest for the times she isn't in a car seat (or other carrier/cosleeper item...haven't decided upon that).

Our hope is that by sailing with her at a young age, it will become a lifelong activity for her...

Thanks again!
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post #13 of 53 Old 08-13-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: New Father...Advice needed on sailing with kids

TomMaine - those two pictures of your daughter sailing in the same dinghy...when she first learned and after college graduation must really bring back some memories...
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post #14 of 53 Old 08-13-2014
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Re: New Father...Advice needed on sailing with kids

Nolesailor
Our first overnight with our youngest was at the six week old mark. Forgot to mention that we've used battery powered white noise machines to help the kids sleep both on land and on the boat. On a smaller boat it's easy for one person to wake another and the white noise helps. Does obscure the sounds of nature and water at anchor.

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post #15 of 53 Old 08-14-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: New Father...Advice needed on sailing with kids

We also use a white noise machine on land, so carrying it over to the boat is a great idea. I appreciate all the responses, and once it gets closer and the Admiral begins voicing her concerns, I'm sure I may have more questions...

Thanks again!
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post #16 of 53 Old 08-14-2014
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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!

MedSailor

PS Sail as much as possible before the little one becomes a toddler!
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post #17 of 53 Old 08-14-2014
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Re: New Father...Advice needed on sailing with kids

The Salus isn't Transport Canada approved either, but since no approval exists for infants under 35lb, and therefore there is also no requirement to carry one, there won't be TC approval and it doesn't matter. Not sure if the same goes for the US.
I personally prefer not having him strapped to something/someone. If I or my wife is going swimming with him accidentally, I would rather he floated face up regardless of if I am or not.

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post #18 of 53 Old 08-14-2014
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Re: New Father...Advice needed on sailing with kids

After she was born, our daughter began sailing with us when she was 6 weeks old. Her first passage was made in a car-seat/bassinet that hung from the overhead on a short tether (so the the natural period of the "pendulum" was greater than the boats roll and her bassinet simply hung vertically while the yacht rolled about her). As she grew, we progressed from the bassinet to a car seat that could be secured below or in the forward corner of cockpit. When she was bigger and began walking, we fitted her with a baby floaty and tether if she was above deck and added netting to the life-lines around the entire boat (and she learned to never-ever leave the cockpit without her mommy or daddy and without holding onto the boat). Our--and her--first rule was/is "safety first". Her, and our, second rule was/is "always hold onto the boat". She's in her early 20's now but still respects/repeats the rules, aboard our boat or when on her own...

"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
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post #19 of 53 Old 08-15-2014
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Re: New Father...Advice needed on sailing with kids

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PS Sail as much as possible before the little one becomes a toddler!
This!!! The terrible twos and boating have a bit of a rocky relationship. Nothing like having a critter running around the boat that isn't so stable on solid ground. Best thing is that they get past this age fast and your nerves get a break of sorts.
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post #20 of 53 Old 08-15-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: New Father...Advice needed on sailing with kids

All...thanks again for all the replies, the advice and suggestions are appreciated!

Medsailor - Great advice, a cosleeper would be helpful for overnights...but we certainly aren't there yet!

We plan to get lifeline netting once she is mobile (although I always swore I never would. Amazing how things change!). We are looking forward to taking her out this fall when it is not so hot/humid as it is here in the FL summers.

Thanks again!
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