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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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  #11  
Old 02-22-2010
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i have a 5 and 7 year old now. i had them both out on the boat (Kirie elite 29) first when i got it back when they were 3 and 5. i have had my oldest on a nacra 5.2 when he as 3, with life vest and under 5kts of wind. it is easily doable, but you have to be confident in your ability to sail. i have taken both boys out by myself in good weather, under 10kts of wind. they are used to being on the boat. during sail changes, or spinnaker gybes i would have them sit in the cockpit or go below. they like being rolled around during tacks down below. they also enjoy the fact that after a tack their toys may be in a different place.

i have a netting on my lifelines and that helps a lot. it is very hard for them to slip overboard with the netting. it can make docking with the lines a bit more annoying but the safety factor is well worth it. there are just a few places on deck where they are not allowed to go. they are markers there so they know if they are caught there they have to sit in the cockpit in timeout for few minutes. these areas are the close to the bow where the netting starts to get lower and the very aft part of the cockpit where there is only the lifeline for boarding. since this is right behind the wheel it is easily watched, but they know they should not cross the back there because of the lack of netting.

of course they are required to have a life vest on when on deck at all times. i have many vests on board so their are plenty when/if they want to bring friends.

they can get bored pretty quickly, so give them a job. skirting the jib is always a fun task for the stronger one to do. while stuffing lines in bags is a good one for the younger ones to do after tacks and gybes.

my boys give me lots of chances to practice my MOB skills. most of the time it is because they dropped a shoe overboard or some other object that floats. they understand that this is not a good thing, and they have to be more careful. it is dangerous and everything needs to stay on board when the boat is moving. along with this they all know that it is important to always keep an eye on the article and help me in retrieving the item.

as with sailing itself if you keep your head and think ahead having young children on a boat is very doable and very rewarding.

G~
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  #12  
Old 02-22-2010
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We have 6 (ages 11 to 14 mos.) Here's what we do:

Little ones (2 and under) are teathered in the cockpit with harnesses when we leave the dock. They are free to roam below once they're walking well (2 1/2 or so)

Keep plenty of toys in the forepeak- the forward cabin is now their playhouse

No one appears on deck with out a PFD. We favor the Mustangs as well- collar, handle and crotch strap can't be beat.

If the weather is breezy, they wear harnesses and are clipped on- by four they follow directions well enough to know to stay in a safe spot if we're running "rail down".

Lifeline netting is a good idea (especially if your normal sailing angle is 25 degrees plus-like us )

Teach them from the beginning to ALWAYS STAY WITH THE BOAT. A family was lost on Michigan a few years back and it's suspected that the kids jumped in in an attempt to "rescue" someone.

Get them involved in swimming classes NOW. Our 3 yo is already getting pretty good. The YMCA has a good program.

Always keep an eye on the kids. Repeat this one.

Sounds like a lot but as they get used to being on the boat they get better at keeping out of trouble and it's a great experience for them and you.
Their favorite movie is now "Morning Light"

Last edited by cormeum; 02-22-2010 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 02-22-2010
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A related question

We have a h23 and sail on an inland lake. Is it safe to let the kids play down below without a pfd on and make them put it on when they come up to the cockpit. We are not dealing with any waves due to the size of the lake.
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  #14  
Old 02-22-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cormeum View Post
We have 6 ...
Great googley-moogley, man! Have you figured out what causes it yet?

Apparently, for about the last half decade or so, when you ask yourself "hmm, fix the furnace or buy boat stuff..." we know what the answer has been.

The boat looks FANTASTIC btw.
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Old 02-22-2010
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Originally Posted by bljones View Post
Great googley-moogley, man! Have you figured out what causes it yet?

Apparently, for about the last half decade or so, when you ask yourself "hmm, fix the furnace or buy boat stuff..." we know what the answer has been.

The boat looks FANTASTIC btw.
Thanks!

Keeps me out of trouble...
Or that's the theory, anyway.

I promise I'll get to that furnace yet.

Last edited by cormeum; 02-22-2010 at 04:42 PM.
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  #16  
Old 02-22-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kids4sail View Post
We have a h23 and sail on an inland lake. Is it safe to let the kids play down below without a pfd on and make them put it on when they come up to the cockpit. We are not dealing with any waves due to the size of the lake.
If you're not "rockin and rollin" it should be fine. How steady is the little one on his/her feet?

Watch out for the companionway ladder (if you have one).
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Old 02-22-2010
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My wife to this day has some irrational fears of the water OR even coming in to the mooring in the dark thank god my now 22 and 25 year old children never picked it up .


The point being children KNOW when a parent is scared and will act on it
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  #18  
Old 02-22-2010
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Originally Posted by Kids4sail View Post
We have a h23 and sail on an inland lake. Is it safe to let the kids play down below without a pfd on and make them put it on when they come up to the cockpit. We are not dealing with any waves due to the size of the lake.
As others mentioned, it depends on a number of things. Kid's age, personality, boat/cabin design, etc.

It should be okay but if they are tots and can't swim, keep an eye on the escape hatches. Both the companionway, and forward hatch if there is one.

The problem is, kids can move fast and unpredictably. If you can't guarantee that they won't get out of the cabin, then you either have to keep an eye on them or keep the pfd on. Some kids don't mind leaving the pfds on when belowdecks. If it's real hot, most will look for an opportunity to remove them.

It's a judgement call based on the kids and the boat. Ultimately, only you as the parent can make that.
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Old 02-22-2010
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We have a 9-month old and we're doing fine with it. We have a pack 'n play bungeed in the cabin where we can put our kiddo for naps, or if we need to do something with the boat. Our tolerances for bad weather, cold or hot temperatures are not what they used to be, but we're still having fun with it. Catalina 30 will be a great boat for kids. We used to have a 25 footer, and we knew that boat wouldn't work with small kids for where we sail (gusty, very choppy).
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Old 02-22-2010
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We have a 9-month old and we're doing fine with it. We have a pack 'n play bungeed in the cabin where we can put our kiddo for naps, or if we need to do something with the boat. Our tolerances for bad weather, cold or hot temperatures are not what they used to be, but we're still having fun with it. Catalina 30 will be a great boat for kids. We used to have a 25 footer, and we knew that boat wouldn't work with small kids for where we sail (gusty, very choppy).
You are coming up on a tricky age. Infants are relatively easy (they mostly stay put where you set them) and pre-schoolers are great too. But early "toddlerhood" can be challenging on a boat. The kids are wobbly and prone to spills even on dry land. You'll have your hands full, but the good news it's only one child. If you guys get frustrated, remember it's only a stage and will pass.
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