Some families have a sailboat with a mooring and can sail very young children. If you want to know more about tips for sailing with young children, visit A sixteen-foot boat doesn’t have a mooring or other safe event for babies and toddlers. Because of this, wait until kids were four and five to sail for the first time. The thrill of being on the water and boats is pretty fun, but there are many different components to consider for a successful sailing trip with kids.

Boating Safety

boatingSailors planning to bring children outdoors may want to reconsider establishing lifelines if they are not on the boat. Nylon safety nets can also be decoded (be sure to stretch them well, so the child bounces on the net instead of getting caught in it). Boats that include a bunk have the enjoyable advantage of creating a mobile playroom: the bunk can be softened with various pillows and plenty of soft toys.

Sailing Preparation for Children

Since the children are still a bit young, their “help” was quite limited. But it helped them understand the names of the different parts of the sailboat and made them feel like they were on your team. There are many books out there that are incredibly helpful for parents of beginning sailors. Sailing for Kids (by Gary Kibble) is excellent for older kids who want to learn the perfect terminology and methods to help them sail. The book is written by a British, the sailing areas are probably unfamiliar to Americans. No matter the region, the tips for keeping kids active and entertained aboard the sailboat are invaluable.

Sailboat Launch

boatingWe found that launching the boat was the most troublesome part of sailing with all of our little ones. The parking lot was quite crowded, and the kids tended to run to the boat in a frenzy of excitement. Since our son can’t hear very well, this caused a few moments of panic as we tried to raise the post and attach the forestay and coverings.

Children Entertainment on a Boating Trip

boatingLarge sailboats with bunk beds offer several ways to entertain young children. Most small children don’t fall asleep until the boat is underway, and a bunk is the best place for them. Having a toy fishing pole is an excellent way to keep kids entertained. Another option (in calmer weather, of course) is to tie a small plastic container to a rope and let the child pull it through the water when the boat is underway. 

Anxiety in the Water

While many children are excited by the idea of racing on the water, some may be afraid of the rocking of the boat, sea spray, and other unpredictable events that come with sailing. Once launched, the kids can hold the lines on the dock to keep the vessel close to the pier. We had an adult acting as a “copy” by holding one of these lines: The children felt they were doing an important job, and the adult supporting them provided an extra measure of safety. Keep sailing while having fun, and if your child is excited about the experience, wait a few years until he or she is ready.

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