Sailing with toddlers and pre-teens can be challenging as most parents are forced to choose safety over fun. However, even educational family outings need to be relaxing and fun to make the best memories. When planning, having a checklist handy with boat safety recommendations from safety experts will ensure that your kids are safe on the boat when sailing.
When setting sail, do not set sail with young children all alone. An extra pair of hands will help coordinate the kids and even spot potential hazards before it's too late. The supervising adult should be a great swimmer with training in boating survival techniques to help rescue if needed.
The kids should have life jackets while onboard the boat. When picking out life jackets, pick out one that fits correctly and is appropriate for their age. An adult size jacket is never to be used as it can easily slip out when the kids are in the water. When dressing the kids, ensure to go over the importance of life jackets and why to never take them off or even toy with them while onboard.
The safest seat for a child on a rocking boat is on an adult's lap. With boats not having booster seats, it's easy for a child to be tossed around and can even go overboard. However, when choosing a boat, invest in one that has marine engine mounts to help isolate the vibration of the whole boat. This will localize it into one area making for a peaceful vibration and noise-free sail.
Before heading out, teach your kids about boating procedures and place down rules to never break. Go a step further and explain the consequences of lack of safety in detail. Keep the rules simple to ensure they can easily remember the main points without feeling overwhelmed and have a great time.
Kids need many supplies to be comfortable and stock up on fluids, snacks, lotions, and sunscreen. Kids will inevitably become bored, and getting some toys or other entertainment will keep them occupied for some time. Pack some warmer clothes apart from swimming gear and towels to ensure the kids do not get cold as the day progresses.
Prepare a safe, comfortable space where the kids can rest and nap if necessary. The place should be away from direct sunlight and closed off to minimize movements. Check the radio to ensure it works during an emergency and teach the kids how to operate it.