Some people are under the mistaken impression that sailing holidays are strictly for adults. However, this is far from the case. With that in mind, today I’m talking about boating holidays with children. Chartering a boat is something that can easily be done with kids. No matter their ages – as long as you follow some common-sense rules.

Boating Holidays With Children – Choosing the right destination

Like any road or rail journey taken with younger children, you don’t want to hear the plaintive ‘Are we there yet?’ too often. Before embarking on a sailing holiday with kids, it’s important you pick the right destination. If you choose to hire a boat in Spain, for example, you can plan the right itinerary with frequent stops at safe anchorages along the coastline and/or from island to island.

Breaking up your itinerary in this way means that kids won’t have the opportunity to feel bored and start whinging as there will always be things to see and new places to explore.

Boating Holidays with Children - two young girls sat on a yacht
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Safety Rules on Boating Holidays with Children

It is crucial that you lay down some sailing safety rules for children before you even board the boat. One of the most basic is that when outside the cockpit, life jackets must be worn at all times. Most boat charter companies keep a range of child-sized jackets but will probably need to know the age and/or weight of your children beforehand to make sure they fit well.

If you have younger children, companies will also be able to install a safety net although you may be charged extra for this.

One of the things that kids enjoy the most about sailing holidays is swimming off the boat. This should only be done in deserted coves and not in busy harbours. Remember that manoeuvring boats have limited visibility especially for swimmers.

Sea breezes can often be misleading because you don’t always realise that you are burning. This is especially true for the sensitive skin of very young kids who will constantly be outside in the sun. For this reason, make sure you frequently apply a high factor waterproof sunscreen.

Involving kids in the sailing

Before even boarding the boat, give your kids a nautical title and explain their ‘duties’. Some of the tasks on board can easily be carried out by children with adult supervision. This daily involvement in the handling of the boat will help boost their self-confidence and increase their enjoyment.

Boating Holidays with Children - young boy steering a motor boat
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Children should only be taught to use a tender with an outboard motor of 2.5hp or less. It is important to teach them how to respect other boats and swimmers in the vicinity. And/or only allow them to use it when in secluded bays.

Keeping kids entertained

Although water-based activities will take up a great deal of their time…Make sure that you pack a variety of games to keep kids occupied during the time spent travelling from harbour to harbour. Travel version board games, packs of cards and colouring/puzzle books or a good old pair of binoculars all provide hours of entertainment. Additionally, they don’t take up too much space.

If you follow these simple guidelines, you and your family will be able to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime and wish to go again and again. Finally, if this boating holidays with children post has been useful, check out more of my travel content here.

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