During our two weeks cruise in Croatia with two families and a total of 5 children (1, 3, 5, 7 and 14 years), we have a lot of experience. The following 10 tips have been proven to us:
Children as they move on the boat, you notice immediately that they have respect for the water and not just jump like that. But sometimes they slip out or the boat makes a movement, they don’t expect and just a safety net prevents slipping under the railing. Nowadays many charter companies offer lifeline netting. Incidentally, it also helps that other stuff doesn’t inadvertently fall overboard. We can’t confirm that a safety net would be a handicap for manoeuvers or that it would look uncool.
Life jacket and children
It’s clear that every child must wear a life jacket when it moves freely on the deck. But it becomes unclear when there is no wind or the child sits in the cockpit. In our opinion, a child should not be forced to wear the life jacket in “unnecessary” situations, just to fulfill a rule. Our two children, 1 and 3 years old, absolutely didn’t want to wear their life jacket, so they were only allowed to walk on the deck on the hand in light winds or be in the cockpit under constant supervision. From talking with other families, we have learned that used lifejackets have the advantage that the collar is not so stiff anymore and so the children can move better.
A safety line is not only a must in strong wind and big waves, but can also be a substitute for a lifejacket in light winds and hot weather. And it was especially handy for us in the marina where the little one wanted to walk around on the pontoons without letting us hold his hand.
Child Car Seat
The child car seat is very practical in rough seas, during maneuvers or when feeding. The child feels comfortable and safe. Parents also know that the child will be safe. We just fixed the car seat inside the vessel with a thin strong rope.
Puddle Jumper and water wings
Children love to swim, play on the shore or feed fish. With water wings or puddle jumpers small children can swim alone and near to you, but you don’t need to constantly hold them tight.
We enjoy jumping from the boat in the deep blue water, small children are afraid. We had a small inflatable paddling pool with us, which we had set up either in the cockpit or behind on the platform. Ilian loved to play there, while the older children enjoyed to jump in the water.
For shopping, sightseeing or just a walk, it’s comfortable to have the buggy or the foldable cart with you. In the case there is not enough space inside the boat it can easily be attached somewhere on the deck.
Ergo Baby Carrier
When we wanted to explore the shore in a place where was no road we were happy to have our ergo baby carrier with us.
In everyday life the time to relax in a hammock is too short, but in a lonely anchorage this time could be found. For example, the hammock “ticket to the moon” can be spanned between the forestay and the mast. Children love it.
Big playground in salon
For a sailor the sofa in the living room is not the most important, but for children however the world looks different. They like to jump around and to play. When the boat makes an unexpected move and they fall, it doesn’t hurt. Especially when maneuvering or in strong wind, the smaller children were inside and played together on the sofa.
There is a lot to consider in a cruise with small children. Sometimes small things can turn a stressful sailing journey in a relaxing vacation.