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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.

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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-24-2013 05:31 PM
Re: Safety netting for kids

Warning: personal responsibility required.

We used tethers and no PFD. Honest, when the temperature hits 95F plus and the wind dies, if PFDs are used on small children it would be far kinder to stay home. Asking a small child, who has less heat tolerance than an adult, to wear an insulated vest (no inflatables for small ones) is impractical and potencial unsafe.

Certainly an adult was in close attendance at all times. Illegal? Don't care.

(We used PFDs in the dingy and kayaks)
01-24-2013 03:52 PM
Re: Safety netting for kids

Our old I-28 has a single lifeline and an aluminum toe rail with regularly spaced openings. After having a failure I replaced the coated ss wire with 1/4" Amsteel. Any reason I shouldn't simply "thread / weave" directly into the life line a smaller diameter Amsteel that would connect to the toe rail the with a tight enough crossing pattern to keep "stuff" from heading over the side?

01-24-2013 12:50 PM
Re: Safety netting for kids

What is your harness of choice for kids?

I'm going to install netting as well, and of course always require a pfd.
12-05-2012 04:09 PM
Re: Safety netting for kids

Raising children has changed a bit since we sailed the seas with our two, which we had on board from age 2 and 3 until they were 16 and 17. We did not stay in marinas nor just in one quiet bay, but sailed over 100k NM with them to 80 something countries.
Our answer to child safety was, and still is with our 12 grandchildren, - be strict. Yes I know parents today are reluctant to bring out the whip - kidding of course, but a firm strict hand at the start instills values in a child so that just the "voice" controls after that. Remember, we are talking about their life. A wack on their bottoms brought results, and in fact broaden their horizons because eventually they could be trusted, which meant we could take on more dangerous endeavors knowing they would respond to our command to "stop."
Today we go bush with our little ones, and I don't mean down park tracks, but into the wilderness with even our 4 yo. Controlling children, and not letting them control you, enhances their lives because, as I said, you can take on even greater challenges and the kids dig it to bits. And might I add, quickly understand you are protecting them, and so they respond. Our little group became a tight team looking after each other and we went on to sailing high latitude, exploring wild places. But it started at age 2 and 3.

Banyandah, a vessel we still sail today, she's 41 YO, has solid railing. A major bonus. Saved my life many times in wild nights when we actually went forward to change sails. Onto those solid rails we use fishnet as described above, knotted at each mesh corner, and we lashed it to the top rail with 3mm venetian blind cord. At the base we strung taut poly cord which ran stanchion to stanchion through the netting, and at the mid-rail we lashed it with more 3mm cord. Yep! Not all that attractive. But we were cruisers sharing an extraordinary life with our children, not dressing up a marina. When they were really little, we had a net gate across the anchoring area.
Next, of course, teach them to swim straightaway. And talked to them like adults, explaining the dangers, showing them what can happen. At sea, they never left our cockpit ever. Even when young adults, we set limits. When they started taking night watches at about 12, they wore a tether and could not venture outside the cockpit. Discipline is so important with ship board life, be it at sea, alongside, or trooping through a foreign country.
If you'd like to see some photos of our early cruising, go to our website and find the tab PHOTOS. I think the top folder has the earliest voyages. Might even have a photo or two showing our netting.

Cheers from Australia
12-05-2012 03:12 PM
Re: Safety netting for kids

Anybody ever have a problem with the kids climbing over the lifeline and netting?
My one year old can climb over things that height. If a tether doesn't deter her I think the shakiness of the lifeline would. Any insights?
10-01-2012 02:49 PM
Re: Safety netting for kids

We got our netting here, and have been very happy with the price and quality.

Diamond Mesh Nets, Lifeline - Netting - Seattle Marine

It's "knotted" netting, rather the woven, meaning there's a knot at each place where the lines cross. May sound odd if you haven't seen the woven kind but the first netting we got years ago was from a marine store (West Marine perhaps? I don't remember...) and where the lines crossed, the strands where woven together. It was more expensive then Seattle Marine, and much lower quality. I would highly recommend knotted netting over woven netting.

Like others have said, we don't rely on the netting, always use PFDs and tethers when appropriate, but I think the netting can help avoid some issues.

We've been sailing with our girls since they where 3 - 4, now 11 - 12. We've never (to the best of my knowledge) had a mishap where the netting "saved" them, but I still advocate for it and here's why...

Going forward in rough weather I've had a few times where the boat lurched and my foot missed the small side deck and hit the netting. Would I have gone over without it? No, I was holding on with at least one hand, perhaps two and wearing a tether, but I do remember thinking "That could have been awkward and painful if my foot went over the side there."

I think more then netting being something that's going to catch you in a free fall across the deck (which it's not likely too), it's more often going to give you those little nudges which aren't necessarily live saving, but do help avoid those minor issues.

How many times has that been a little nudge for my girls that I didn't even realize? Likely a few times.

I also like that now that they are bigger I'm happy to have them come forward and help in ever bigger seas as when the move forward and back, they can crouch down below the lifelines and be very secure from slipping off the side deck. Of course, wearing PFDs and harnesses if appropriate and holding on. They've also been taught that if the netting catches you, you did something wrong. Fix it next time. It's a backup, not to be relied on.
09-06-2012 07:47 PM
Re: Safety netting for kids

Hi, keeping little ones on board requires more than netting, strict discipline at the start is necessary or they will climb. A harness won't stop them climbing either, but will inhibited there movements. Training is essential.
I can't post images, but here links to several showing our netting: 690_n.jpg 08_n.jpg

We used ordinary fish netting and lashed it with polyprop cord. I was actually quite sad to see it go as the netting caught the sails, and anything else dropped on deck.
08-20-2012 06:05 PM
poopdeckpappy Yeah, at the dock or at anchorage when attention is on socializing
08-20-2012 02:55 PM
Re: Safety netting for kids

I think the chief danger is not at sea, but at dock. That is when the kids really like to wander the deck (dogs too). At sea, in a rocking boat, not so much.

08-20-2012 02:54 PM
Re: Safety netting for kids

Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
I elected not to use wire ties because of our locale (southwest Florida) where even black ties deteriorate and weaken quickly in the sun. They may be an option further north, however. Further, note that our daughter was always tethered when she went on deck--except when she wasn't. One can never tell when a child might manage to get on deck untethered, regardless of how watchful her/his parents are. It happens. The netting is a safety precaution, but not a substitute for vigilance. In re: bungie cord for the bottom of the netting, we found that it worked best if stretched such that it was fully extended when the mid-point between stanchions could be raised about 6" off the deck/toe-rail. That was enough to pass a line but not a kid/dog.

ANother great post SHV.

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