Always enjoyed sailing? Now the proud parents of a little one? You may think that the fun is over now. Sailing with a baby, that's three times nothing, isn't it? How about the naps? And how do you prepare the food on a boat? Isn't it also very dangerous to sail with a little one? Definitely not, throw all your objections overboard and enjoy a boating holiday with your baby or older children.
I will give you some practical tips to make sailing with children easier. However, taking a baby on the boat is something completely different from sailing with a toddler or older children. I therefore first give some advice for sailing with the real little ones. Then the older children are introduced. Sailing with children is another topic in its own right, so we'll talk about that later.
Sailing with a baby. Tips!
Tip 1: Sleeping on board
If your son or daughter is still very small, take the carrycot with you. The little one can sleep well in this. Clamp the car body with, for example, a sling tarpaulin. Hanging in the cabin is also an option. If your child is a little older, use a bouncer or Maxi-Cosi for the nap. This can then be used immediately while eating. The advantage of sleeping while sailing is that babies often leave quickly. The swell of the waves, lying in the open air and the monotonous sound of the engine make your child wonderfully drowsy.
Ultimately, sailing with a very young child is even easier than with older children. They don't move yet, so you don't have to worry about them falling into the water. In addition, they still sleep a lot.
Tip 2: Food on board
First of all, make sure you always have enough water on board for the baby. Also bring some fruit, a league or a vegetable snack. You can take the piece of fruit with you and prepare it on board, but pureeing it at home is more convenient. For a day of sailing, a ready-made jar is of course also fine. Furthermore, breastfeeding is the most ideal, because you do not have to take anything with you. If your little one is bottle-fed, bring a thermos with boiling water. Also take the right amount of powder with you in a container. If you mix this with cold water while sailing, you can also easily arrange a bottle. It is best to store expressed milk in a cool box and to warm it up on board for a while. Think burp cloths and bibs! And don't forget a spoon.
Tip 3: Bathing on board
There are several options: you can take your child with you in the shower or you can wash it in a bucket or an inflatable baby bath. If you have enough space, you can also bring the baby bath from home. The so-called baby rooms are also very useful. You will find these at more and more marinas. An ideal place to wash your little one, because there you will find a baby bath and a changing table.
Tip 4: Playing on board
Bring a play mat and some cushions and you have an ideal playground. Maybe the playpen mat is also an option? And of course don't forget the favorite hug.
Tip 5: Put your baby on a life jacket
You can purchase special life jackets for babies. To be clear: I don't mean a life jacket for children, because they don't have a collar. For example, the Hema has suitable life jackets in its range. Your son or daughter will probably not like it very much, but safety comes first. You can be very careful while sailing, but there are more factors that can cause an accident. Putting on a life jacket is the least you can do in terms of precautions. For this reason, don't put your little one on a regular diaper, but a swimming diaper. Safe sailing is above all!
Tip 6: Apply well and put on a sun hat
This seems obvious, but is still often forgotten. Leave your child in the shade as often as possible. There is also a lovely spot under the spray hood, for example. At the same time, your child will not be bothered by any splash water.
Tip 7: Check for dangerous places
This is especially important with crawling children. Are there no sharp protrusions that they could hurt themselves on?
Sailing with older children; tips!
Some of the tips I mentioned when boating with babies also apply to boating with older children. For example, think of sunscreen and life jacket. You can read specific tips for older children below.
Tip 1: At least go sailing
Don't pass up sailing for the kids. They usually really enjoy sailing. If you ensure safety and the necessary facilities, you will not be bothered by the children. They actually increase the sailing pleasure.
Tip 2: Have a good crew
Do not sail with your children if you are insecure and ignorant yourself. Know what you are getting yourself into when you take a boat trip with your son or daughter. Or bring friends or family who are more experienced on the water.
Tip 3: Provide sufficient safety equipment
The biggest danger with children on board is that they fall into the water. What do you pay attention to?
- If the children cannot swim, always wear a life jacket on board and in the marina.
- Unsettled weather? Mooring or sailing? Locks? Make use of lifelines.
- When docking, the children always sit in a fixed place.
- Use railing nets; it is difficult for the children themselves as well as their toys to fall overboard.
- Provide a warning system in the unlikely event that a child falls into the water. Often these are attached to the life jacket or to an arm of the child.
Tip 4: Bring a first aid kit
An accident is in a small corner. Also while sailing. It is nice when you have plasters, gauze, bandages and Betadine to hand.
Tip 5: Who is responsible for the children in an emergency
Always make this clear. In any case, if panic breaks out, this is arranged.
Tip 6: Have fixed rules
This is really necessary on board. To be consequent. Strict and clear rules can prevent unpleasant incidents. Make sure the kids know what to do while docking. For example, children without a swimming certificate always wear a life jacket. It is nice if there is no ambiguity about such a thing.
Tip 7: Arrange a playground
And bring nice toys. Drawing supplies, for example, or a tablet. Duplo is always fun too. Or play fun word games with each other.
Tip 8: Choose child-friendly marinas
There are several marinas with a playground.
Tip 9: Lay regularly
And then make it something fun together. Especially if it is not possible to moor at a child-friendly marina. Make sure you get enough exercise during these breaks. Enjoy playing badminton or football together.
Tip 10: Take a dinghy with you
Be extra careful in tidal water or when there is a current.
A dinghy or dinghy is great fun for slightly older children. They are in a separate boat and are pulled by mom and dad. Fun guaranteed!
Tip 11: Let the children help
This is fun for both small and older children. Toddlers and preschoolers find it very cool if they are allowed to hold the helm for a while. Older children, for example, can help latch on. Or watch the sailing route.
Sailing with children
Sailing with children is up to that point, but sailing is certainly not convenient, is it? Why not? Why wait to sail until the kids are older? Sailing is fine with young children. Feel free to rent a sailboat if you have a baby. Or use your own yacht and sail the IJsselmeer, the Frisian lakes or even the Mediterranean Sea. Really? Certainly, provided you take the following tips into account:
Tip 1: Rather take a larger sloop than a small sailing boat.
You often need some extra space when you bring one or more children.
Tip 2: Choose a sailboat with cabin
If there is no cabin, arrange a canopy. If there is no hood, be sure to bring an umbrella.
Tip 3: A reasonably deep tub is important
The children remain in the cockpit while sailing. If the cockpit is less than half a meter deep, there is certainly the risk of falling overboard.
Tip 4: Don't sail too long in one day
It's a shame if the kids get bored. Alternate sailing and other activities.
Tip 5: Sail with a family flotilla
In this way, the children often make friends quickly.
Tip 6: Go sailing abroad
If you choose Croatia, for example, you can be sure that the waters are reasonably calm. Especially the area along the coast. With children on board it is nice when there are fewer waves. In addition, the sea has a wonderful temperature for swimming.
Tip 7: Fight seasickness
Nothing is more annoying than a sick child on board. There are all kinds of chemical pills available, but you can also find everything on the homeopathic market. Are you late or have the pills not helped? Then have the child look closely at the horizon. It is also important that he or she stays outside. Helping with steering can sometimes be a solution and at the same time provides the necessary distraction. It is also important to eat a small amount on a regular basis.
Tip 8: Teach your child to sail
As soon as children are about 6 years old, they can start in an optimist.
Do you want to sail with your children this summer and are you planning to rent a boat? Then also read this article: Rent a boat; what do you pay attention to?
I wish you a lot of sailing pleasure!