Family Sailing Vacations - Chartering a Yacht with Children
Chartering with Children - Family Yacht Charter and Sailing Vacations
Many of our clients ask us if it's a good idea to bring the kids along on a yacht charter - not just for the obvious safety reasons, but because they're worried the kids will feel cooped up on the boat and ruin the vacation for kids and parents alike. These are valid concerns, but from our experience this is rarely the case, in fact children love being on a yacht, learn to respect the rules of the boat, and are normally better behaved because they are entranced by the experience. Simply put, kids love boats!
If you're planning a family sailing charter, we strongly recommend a chartering a catamaran. Catamarans are wonderful for children - they offer a lot of inside play space, they don't rock back and forth when tacking, and the children will love being on the forward trampolines and jumping off the stern deck.
Successful charter vacations with children, however, do require some planning and rule enforcement. In talking with others who have chartered with kids, here are some basic suggestions:
Set clear safety rules. Discuss the rules of a charter before the trip and reinforce them the moment you get on the boat. Rules we've used are:
- Always wear life vests when not in the cockpit
- Never leave a boat without permission from an adult
- Never go to the front of the boat without an adult
- The skipper is the boss, his word is law
- No running or horseing around, ever
- Always swim in twos, like at camp
- Know which parent is in charge - don't assume, make a schedule
Make the sailing distances short. This reduces the chances of boredom leading to mischeif. Insetad of a 4 hours sail, do two 2 hour sails, stopping on a beach to run around and play in between.
Bring plenty of Beach and Water Toys. If possible, rent a kayak and or a paddle board, they'll love the freedom (they should always go out in twos and wear life jackets, of course). Make sure their snorkeling equipment fits and works, and that they've practiced breathing at home (even if it's in a bath tub). It's hard to teach how to use a snorkel in the wavy salt water.
Expose them to the art and science of sailing. Show them the charts, the instruments. Have them use the winch and push the button for the anchor. They will feel more "connected" and begin a lifelong love affair with boats
Expose them to nature. Buy fish and wildlife guides, so they can learn more about what they're seeing. The laminated colorful fish charts are a big hit.
Don't play the movie "Jaws" on the boat. And don't mention sharks.
Finding the right charter boat for your family
If you're chartering with children, it's important to get the right boat so that there is plenty of space for them, and, if it's crewed, a captain and crew who enjoy working with children. We have organised many family charter vacations, and can recommend yachts that work best for children. Your kid's first charter will open them up to a love of being on the water, and we will help you with all the planning to make it the best vacation of your lives!