Casting off for a weekend, a week or longer on a boat: the dream of many sea lovers. But is it possible to sail serenely when you’ve got the children on board? Yes, it is, by adopting just a few measures for everyone to be able to enjoy the pleasures of life at sea in complete safety. TEMO suggests a few ways to make your family cruise a safe cruise for everyone on board.
Before setting off cruising with children
In addition to the usual preparations, including a check of the boat and its engine, when putting to sea with children, the following points should also be taken into consideration: Preparing your cruise well means choosing a programme adapted to your crew. Choose short passages, with regular stopovers so everyone can stretch their legs.
Plan short passages and long stopovers
Preparing your cruise well means choosing a programme that is adapted to your crew. Choose short passages, punctuated by regular stopovers so everyone can stretch their legs.
Check the condition of your tender and motor
When sailing with children, you use the dinghy a lot. This would make an excellent opportunity to upgrade to a TEMO electric boat motor! Lightweight, reliable and easy to handle, it's the ideal propulsion for your dinghy when you’re cruising with the family.
Make sure everyone has the right equipment
Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat. But also boots, fleece, waterproof jacket and trousers: this is the minimum investment for comfortable boating. In summer as well as in winter, in temperate zones, children must have the right gear to act as a barrier against the sun, wind, cold and water.
A few rules to adopt when sailing with the family
Note: explaining the safety rules before setting off gives children time to make them their own rather than seeing them as a constraint.
Wearing a lifejacket is compulsory for children
• Where ? OLifejackets should be on before arriving on the pontoon or before leaving the cabin.
• When ? The lifejacket is worn when sailing, but also at anchor or alongside the pontoon. Because it is precisely when the boat is stationary that the vigilance of adults decreases and children become more daring.
• What type of lifejacket ? Foam lifejackets are quite well tolerated by the youngest children: the padded collar works like a headrest if taking an improvised nap in the cockpit. Beyond the age of 6 or 7, for children who can swim, if possible switch to an auto-inflating jacket, which is more comfortable.
• Accessoires ? Add a safety line as soon as the sea gets rougher or the wind picks up.
Some reflexes to adopt with children on board
• Children should never be left alone on the boat and never go out alone in the cockpit or on deck
• Close cabin doors at night
• Fit guardwire netting
• Take younger children below during complicated manoeuvres to avoid knocks and bumps or getting tangled up in the sheets …
How to make cruising fun for both kids and grown-ups
Create a special children's corner in the cabin
The marine environment is fascinating, but when a swell picks up and the sun goes in, it's not so much fun. Children then head for the cabin: a warm, cosy refuge, a “hut” where an enclosed space is reassuring. You can set up part of the saloon or a cabin for them, with soft toys, games, colouring books and something to fall asleep in. Depending on the age of the child, add cushions or an anti-roll pillow.
On a sailboat, try to choose comfortable points of sail
Heeling over, noise and movement caused by sailing upwind are quite unpleasant for inexperienced crews. Opting for a more comfortable point of sail is well worth the trouble, even if the passage is longer.
How to keep children occupied while under way
• Watch the sea, the sails, the coast, the birds, other boats... With a pair of binoculars around your neck, it’s even better !
• Troll a fishing line when conditions permit or with a rod and line at anchor
• Take along books, games and colouring books
• Involve children in the sailing. From a very young age, children can take the helm with an adult. Then, as the years go by, they can spot beacons, find their bearings on the chart, trim the sheets…
As you’ve understood, it is perfectly possible to sail as a family in complete safety. It’s up to you to adopt the right reflexes and to define the rules of life on board adapted to each person. Keep in mind one simple objective: that sailing should remain a pleasure for everyone !
What are your tips for family sailing?
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