A family cruise is an opportunity to change the air and keep wonderful family memories. But when you have to sail with children, the cruise can quickly become a nightmare if it is not well prepared.
In my article this week, I decided to give you some tips to make your family cruise a success. Let’s go!
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Family Cruise: A special preparation for children
Cruises are preparing; and those with children, even more! Since they are not as aware as adults of safety aboard boats, their presence increases the risk of accidents on board. That’s why you need to prepare your family cruise more carefully when you have to sail with children.
The preparation begins with a series of checks. Indeed, you must make sure that no technical malfunction is noted at the level of your boat. Check or have your boat checked by professionals, whether for safety equipment (we will see later) but also the condition and operation of everything on the boat. This check is even more necessary if the cruise is to last several days.
Prime all safety equipment
Since navigating with children increases the risks of insecurity, you must plan all the equipment to ensure safety during your family cruise. First of all, make sure that all the children have life jackets that fit their size. Ideally, these vests will also have a loop to attach a lifeline. The foam vests provide extra protection against blows. Of non-slip shoes can also be of great use.
Then, check your pharmacy kit. Indeed, a boat includes several elements – portholes, candlestick, cleat … – That can be the causes of small injuries. So make sure your kit contains everything needed for first aid: disinfectants, bandages, tablets. Check the expiry date of each item.
So that everyone on board has a quieter mind, it is also, in my opinion, essential to install a safety net that will reduce the chances of accidental water drops. Similarly, a system that avoids falling from the bunk is additional asset children.
Inform children, explain their rules
Without becoming too bossy and multiply prohibitions, it is essential to inform children about the rules to abide on and from the first minutes on the boat.
These rules may be, for example, not to lean out of the boat, always listen to the “captain,” do not go swimming without permission. Or what equipment never touch, how to place in navigation, for example.
It’s up to the skipper to find the rules to be defined and to make sure it’s clear from the start.
Before you embark on your family cruise, it is essential to educate your children about the risks of the boat and the sea. For example, they must be made aware of the danger that the propeller of a boat can pose. motor; or the risk of pulleys, winches … of a sailboat when subjected to intense pressure. Once again, they must know what to touch and what not to feel.
Also, when navigating with children, they must be taught the basic rules of safety to follow. For example, when someone falls into the water, you have to throw the lifebuoy, do not close your eyes, and so on.
If possible, repeat the maneuver with a scenario to ensure that these rules are understood, which is an opportunity to fare a little game.
Plan games for your children
Remember that during your family cruise, your children will get bored much faster than you. It is for this reason that it is advisable to punctuate cruises with activities onshore when you have to sail with children. This allows them to let off steam and meet other children.
On the boat, it is possible to fish or be towed by a buoy, for example, or, with the help of binoculars, try to spot marine animals or other boats.
But even when you have to follow this advice, also think about boarding with you, some of the toys your kids love. Free them a small space where they will be able to spread them out and play without constraint. In doing so, you will allow them to attend when needed, while waiting for your next stop.
When finally starting your family cruise, you must monitor all the activities of your children, especially swimming. These are risks that your children still do not measure. Even when they are warned, the temptation to jump off the boat to cool off can sometimes exceed their desire to comply with your instructions. Therefore, be vigilant!
Before each swim, make sure the conditions are favorable. Check the intensity of the ocean currents and make sure there is no risk element. The weather will help you greatly in this way. It must also be checked regularly and even anticipate if the cruise must last several days. It’s all about your comfort and that of your children.
With children on board, it is better to avoid long navigation that will be endless (for them). It is necessary to cut the navigation in smaller steps to the port or anchorage, with a getaway on land.
Another element to take into account, in addition to the length of the steps, is the weather! Children have a lower tolerance to formed sea. It can feel sick but also and especially be afraid of the waves, the boat that moves in all directions, which can eventually disgust the boat. (the same advice is valid for beginner adults)
As we often say: During a cruise, it is the weather that decides the course.
Pass on your passion
If you sail, even if it is not long ago, it is because you are passionate about the sea, the boat, sailing and/or fishing. Navigating with children is a fantastic opportunity to try to convey your passion. The curiosity of children is legendary; on a boat, there are dozens of learning topics. This can be navigation, the discovery of the marine and underwater environment (and its protection).
The children are interested in everything; some will want to learn to “drive” the boat, get them the basics of maneuvers!
This is the best way for me to succeed on a cruise with children; they will feel valued and proud to have learned so much.
While it is true that there are security constraints to be respected when navigating with children, one is easily tempted to become more authoritarian. You have to make the child understand some things from the beginning but not be on his back because it would be the best way to vaccinate him against the boat, it’s not the goal! Sailing with children is a moment of incredible family sharing, so yes there is security but do not forget to enjoy!
And what are your tips for navigating with children? Tell me in the comments …