Having the privilege of owning your own boat is great, but being able to share the experience with your children is even better!
The memories that you create each year when you hit the waves will last a lifetime, but before you jump into anything, make sure you have read up on all the necessary safety precautions.
As well as the obvious tips such as having a specially fitted lifejacket for each of your children and ensuring everyone is able to swim to a sufficient standard, there are many other top tips to ensure you have a safe sail.
Continue reading for our top safety tips when starting a new sailing adventure with the little ones…
#1. Set boundaries
In all scenarios, boundaries need to be set and everyone should be fully aware of them. For example, create ‘no go areas’ so your children avoid any space that could potentially be dangerous, for example the bow on a motor boat or the companionway. Avoiding these areas altogether will help towards a safer trip.
#2. Your family are your crew
Keep the kids involved! Teaching the whole family the ins-and-outs of boating not only gives them a sense of responsibility but also gives them great experience and knowledge on boating. This in turn helps them to understand the dangers that come with it. For example, you should encourage your children to learn how to turn the engine on and off. In case of an emergency, and if for some reason you or any other adults are incapable, your children will know how to stop the boat.
#3. Be prepared with warm clothing (even if you’re travelling to a hot country!)
OK, so you might be wondering why you should pack warm clothes even when travelling to hot destinations but you’ll soon realise when the sun goes down and the wind picks up that it can quickly become chilly. Younger children have a higher risk of catching hypothermia than older children and adults. Due to this, it’s best to be sure that you have plenty of blankets, coats and jumpers onboard. You may not need them but it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
#4. Ensure you are insured
This might be an obvious one but you’d be surprised at how many people forget. There are plenty of great boat insurers around who offer free legal protection cover, free personal accident cover, free medical expensenses cover and more, some also include great benefits such as GJW Direct.
#5. Keep it fun (providing the safety rules are clearly understood)
Remember that although these safety precautions are serious and should definitely be enforced, you should still make your children’s time on the water fun. Invest in some inflatables for when you are docked and - providing the weather conditions and the current is safe - let your little ones really enjoy their holiday on the water (with a lifejacket!).