Set Sail as a Family: How to Enjoy Cruising With Kids

A sailing holiday is a great option for adventure seeking families who want a fun filled active holiday. To get the best sailing break for you however you need to plan and prepare in advance. You may have some concerns or be confused about itineraries and which type of holiday to take. Well, read on to learn why taking a sailing holiday as a family is an excellent idea.

What kind of sailing holiday to take?

There are a few different options when it comes to yachts and sailing holidays but which is the best option for your family?

Flotilla holidays

The best type of sailing holiday for groups and families is flotilla holidays, sailing in a group of yachts. A flotilla is a group of boats that follow a lead boat in the same itinerary. These groups are usually between 6 and 14 boats in one flotilla and taking part in a flotilla holiday is perfect for those who want to socialise and need help when sailing.
You’ll be guided by a lead crew including a skipper, host and technician who give daily briefings so you will know exactly where you are going and what you are doing. Itineraries are usually set before you book, however you can join activities or just relax once you get to your destination. Flotilla routes are planned as short hops so there are lots of places to stop and explore.

Learning to sail holidays

You can learn to sail on a flotilla holiday however you might need a little practice before you set off. There are courses you can take before you book your holiday if you wish to have some formal qualifications, but you can also hire a skipper for a couple of days or the whole duration of your holiday. Your skipper will help and guide you in the handling of the yacht and you’ll have control of the boat in no time.

During the trip older kids will love to learn how the boat works and take helm, helping to navigate to the next anchor point. The kids can even join your lead sailor or crew helping them learn how to sail the boat themselves, or at least help out the professionals for a while.

Child friendly itineraries

Child friendly itineraries that include swimming, snorkelling and fun filled stops will keep everyone happy and entertained for your whole break. There are so many different places to enjoy sailing as a family but here are a couple of examples:

The Ioninan islands, Greece

These Greek Islands are an excellent example of family friendly sailing destinations. There are plenty of places to relax such as Zakynthos and Paxos. Lefkada is an excellent choice for older kids to try water sports and other water activities. These islands are largely sheltered and are considered easy sailing so are great for beginners too.

The Damatian Coast, Croatia

Explore the islands and coast steeped in history and adventure in Croatia. Staring in Trogir, then on to the islands of Brac and Hvar where if your kids love history then visit the UNESCO site of Stari Grad. Those children who love to swim and snorkel will enjoy exploring the Nečujam ship wreck, or if there are game of thrones fans in the family, you’ll love Diocletian’s Palace where parts of the hit series was filmed.

Sporades Islands, Greece

The wind here is known as the ‘meltemi’ so it is a route that is best for keen sailors and experienced flotilla holiday makers. During this trip you shouldn’t miss the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos, Kyra Panayia, Peristeri and Skantzoura. The itinereray depends on the winds and swimming and snorkelling is dependent on your anchor points. This area is best for families with older children because of the disruptive potential of the winds and weather here.

Being prepared for sailing with kids

Once you have decided what holiday and which itinerary, you’ll need to prepare. There are a few things you should remember when sailing with kids, here are some reminders.

  • Bring plenty of sun cream.

Being on the boat all day in the sunshine even covered, they will need sun protection and lots of it. You don’t want a child suffering from sunburn or sunstroke.

  • Clothing for covering up.

As well as sun cream the children will need clothing to cover them up from the sun, as well as keeping warm at night. Hooded poncho towels are a great idea for the day time.

  • Bring the right swimming equipment.

Swimming and snorkelling is a big part of s sailing holiday so having the right stuff is essential for your trip. Arm rings, floatation aids and kids snorkels and flippers, anything you might need or can hire before you get on the boat.

  • Practice wearing life jackets.

It can be cumbersome and uncomfortable for children but they must get used to wearing life jackets. Explaining why and how to wear them, plus practicing before you set sail will help them understand and get used to them.

  • Pack light but bring the essentials

You won’t have very much space on your boat so you will have to pack light and utilise every packing trick you can. Using packing cubes and limiting luggage is essential for holidaying on a yacht.

  • You’ll get out of routine

Knowing you won’t be able to stick to your usual routines before you go will help you to plan for these changes. Bedtimes will fluctuate as will mealtimes, depending where you are and what you have done that day. Being flexible is worth it, even if it is a loose daily plan.

Things you might be concerned about when taking the family sailing

Here are few things that might worry you about children and sailing and how you can overcome these concerns.

Safety on board

If you have young children your first concerns might be the safety of your children being on the water for a long period of time. However, those companies who specialise in family sailing holidays have safety features put in place. These include special locks, child gates, safety netting and CCTV to make sure the whole family is as safe as possible on your boat. Booking the right boat for you will give you peace of mind.

Keeping kids entertained during down time

A sailing holiday is an adventure for children, but they can get bored at time especially if you are sailing for a long time without any stops. On well-equipped family friendly yachts, you’ll find games consoles, toys, books and other electronics to keep children occupied and stave off that dreaded boredom. Bring some things along of their own and making your own games will also make the down time more fun.

So, would you consider a sailing holiday with your children?

Is it the feeling of freedom or the allure if the open seas? Whatever reason you are considering a sailing holiday with your children, there are many good reasons to enjoy this kind of holiday. After reading this, would you want to try a sailing with your family as your next holiday break?

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