Sailing with kids
Updated: Nov 12
So, you are probably wondering - how is it even possible to share a sailing experience with your children and at the same time feel safe and relaxed…?
We can’t say this question isn’t quite often and also very much in place - not only for safety reasons but also out of fear that kids might feel trapped on the boat and become impossible, looking for constant attention and amusement.
Long story short: as parents, sailors, and experienced charterers, we can honestly say – kids love boats!
It is in children’s nature to enjoy being on a boat for an active vacation. Babies sleep on waves like in a cradle, toddlers enjoy the new spaces to explore, and older children like the numerous possibilities of learning new skills while having fun.
While it will take you a day or two to get completely used to your new surrounding, it will take them about 20 minutes. And living in close contact with nature- after a couple of days their bodies will start following the natural rhythm and daylight hours- falling asleep early (just after the sun goes down) and waking up early. This gives you a great opportunity to enjoy in peaceful romantic nights on board.
The days will go fast with sooo many activities for your little ones (and the not so little ones too!). They will spend their days barefoot, swimming, snorkeling, learning the ropes, being the skipper's little helper, driving the boat, jumping in the sea... You will have to be there for them for their very first jump in the sea, to show them it is fun and safe, just like most things in life. But after just a few jumps they will be pros, thinking of new ways to jump, and yes, you will probably have to watch them all. They will jump in and out so many times you will lose count, so guess who will be very sleepy at night? 😊
You will watch your kids just being kids – easily adapting to new space, learning so fast, thinking of new games, running around barefoot, and you will think – my kids are so lucky! I am such a cool parent!
In Dalmatia, we sail with our children from the first months of their lives, both in summer and in wintertime. They learn to live with the sea, in a new and interesting environment, so close to nature. It broadens their horizons, develops imagination but also improves their health.
For example, our daughter (Alma, she is 10 now) went on her first short sail when she was just 16 days old, and for her first winter regatta when she was 30 days old. Later on, when she was a toddler and also a young restless girl, it became more challenging, but the memories and experience are priceless!
All day jumping and swimming + fresh sea air = hungry kids. This is the perfect chance for some healthy snacks – you will come across green markets in every island town where you will find all kinds of local, juicy fruits and vegetables. For some more ideas on local, Croatian products we all grew up on, you can check out our blog: Provisioning – buy like a local.
And don’t worry about eating out – If you are looking for lamb under the bell, octopus’ salad, fresh, grilled fish… the restaurants and taverns will also offer some kids friendlier options like pizzas, chicken, French fries, pancakes… But don’t give up too soon - at least try to make them taste a bite of your healthier food options - you never know…
Let’s not forget about a very special audience – the teenagers. All our boats have unlimited Wi-Fi so they can keep in touch with their friends, indoor and outdoor speakers that they can connect to with their phones and listen to their favorite music (for your sake – I hope they got their music taste from you), and hammocks to help them get away from everybody. Also, the boat itself, together with all the places you will visit, are perfect locations for Instagram and TikTok videos– quite enough to keep them busy!
We can suggest so many ideas – but truth be told, nothing can compare to kids' imagination. They will build cushion fortresses in the cabins, keep a diary of new adventures every day, or make a map of drawings of their favorite places. They will also make you join in the fun and learn how to balance a paddleboard, come up with a snorkeling challenge, or treat you with a soup made from pebbles.
Yes, we are all crazy about our children, but for any family sailing vacation, it is also very important that at the same time the adults get the best of it: being relaxed and knowing that the children are safe and happy. So, if you are an experienced sailor, we’ll provide the extra safety equipment and help you with suggestions on the routes, things to do and see with your children. And if you are not a sailor, just let us take care of everything; our skippers are experienced with children and everything you need to know when spending time on a boat. For us, with children on boats, there are no surprises, because we’ve had it all.
Anything you think might help you feel more comfortable, we’ll do our best to organize: from sleeping cots, extra linen and towels, toys, baby food provisioning and so on. As standard equipment, all our boats have snorkeling equipment, water toys, board games and cards… all of which are there to help your children have more fun. A great option is also having a babysitter on board- something that we’ll be happy to help with. It would not only allow you to relax completely, but would also give your children an opportunity to learn more about Croatian culture, our food, the games we play here, and as a result- broaden their horizons.
The only thing you have to do is decide on a family adventure… and the rest is on us!
A few quick tips to help you relax completely with your children onboard:
· Always make them wear life vests while sailing- if they are not inside or sitting in the cockpit.
· To reduce any chances of boredom and impossible moments – try to keep the sailing distances short.
· You know your child the best – prepare in advance with water toys, movies, music, board games, books… or anything else that they find fun and comforting.
· They will love taking on sailing responsibilities – no matter what age, by making them part of the crew, they will take sailing seriously and have fun at the same time, not to mention how many new things they will learn.
· Dinghies, SUPs (stand up paddleboards), underwater sea scooters, lilos… these are great fun for kids – they can explore the bays, be captains/pirates of their own little vessels…
· If seasickness is a problem, keeping them outside and watching forwards helps. There are also seasickness tablets on all our boats. And if you are sailing with a skipper of ours – he will always choose the most comfortable route for you (ie, following the wind direction).
· They will get quite hungry – all day in the sun, fresh air, jumping in the sea countless times, swimming, sailing… and they will for sure go crazy for our fresh local seasonal fruit.
· They will be very busy – so keep reminding them to hydrate.
· Sunblock – use more than you think is necessary. And if you can convince them that wearing a hat and sunglasses is what cool kids do – that would be a nice bonus. …Chartering with kids doesn’t seem like a bad idea any more, does it? :)