Ahoy there, fellow adventure seekers and sea enthusiasts! Read on for some sailing tips for families. If you’ve ever dreamed of embarking on a nautical escapade with your loved ones, you’re in for a treat. Sailing isn’t just a hobby; it’s an unforgettable lifestyle that can bring your family closer while exploring the vast blue expanse. Join me as we dive into some salty tips and real-life case studies to help you confidently set sail and create lasting maritime memories!
Tip 1: Set Your Course for Safety (sailing tips for families #1)
Before you even hoist those sails, safety should be your first mate. Proper safety gear, life jackets, and knowledge of safety procedures, like Man Overboard, is vital. Take the time to teach your partner, family, and crew about emergency procedures, and remember, a well-informed crew is a safe crew.
We created a Boat Safety Audit that helps boat owners ensure they have all the proper safety equipment and know what to service and when. Further, our audit helps boat owners to have a location map listing where everything is located.
Especially for sailing families, everyone must know how to use safety equipment and what to do during common boating challenges!
To watch a video about how to use a Boat Safety Audit and get a free copy for yourself, visit; https://sailingbritican.com/boat-safety-audit-video/
Tip 2: Chart Your Food Course
A hungry sailor is grumpy, so make sure your galley is well-stocked with provisions. Plan meals that are easy to prepare onboard and won’t leave your stomach feeling topsy-turvy. Remember to include some seasickness remedies—ginger candy, anyone?
Packed with more sailing tips for families, watch my video, ‘Provisioning and Cooking on a Boat Made Easy.’ Check that out here: https://sailingbritican.com/provisioning-and-cooking-on-a-boat-made-easy/
Tip 3: Anchors Away—But Not Your Entertainment
While the breathtaking views of endless water can be captivating, keeping your crew entertained during the voyage is crucial. Bring games, download Kindle books, and consider musical instruments to avoid boredom during those long stretches.
Even though Legos are small, and you’d think they’d end up everywhere, they seemed to be the most entertaining ‘toy’ as long as the seas were calm. We’ve even had several adults enjoy them!
We also had loads of puzzles. I cut the top of the puzzle off the box and put the picture and the puzzle pieces in a Ziplock bag to reduce the use of storage space. When you compact puzzles this way, you can store quite a few! By using a roll-up puzzle mat we worked on the puzzle when we wanted, and the pieces didn’t fly around.
Tip 4: Embrace the Learning Journey (More Sailing Tips for Families)
Sailing isn’t just about steering a ship; it’s about understanding the wind, currents, and the magic of navigating by the stars. Involve your family in the journey by teaching them about the ocean ecosystem and celestial navigation.
In our family, we noticed that this happened naturally. We didn’t have to force the learning aspect of sailing. A whale would blow out his blow-hole next to us, and we’d jump up, grab our whale identification book, and learn on the go.
During night sails, we’d use one of our night sky apps and watch the International Space Center go by or learn more about a constellation. As long as you’re curious and share your curiosity with the family, learning happens automatically.
Tip 5: Weather Wisdom and Flexibility
Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so watch the weather forecast before you set sail. Be prepared to adjust your plans if rough weather approaches. Flexibility is the key to a successful sailing trip, so have a backup itinerary in mind and be ready to change course if needed.
Family friends had a planned island-hopping adventure, but storms forced them to seek refuge in a nearby marina. Instead of being disappointed, they embraced the opportunity to explore the charming town, turning an unexpected detour into a memorable highlight.
The sailing life is very unpredictable but in a good way. You might plan to go from A to B and end up in D, but wherever you end up, it’s usually better than you expected! It’s also an amazing life lesson that teaches families to go with the flow rather than force things.
As far as sailing tips for families go, it’s important to embrace the dynamic sailing lifesytle rather than fight it. Things change all that time. Expect it and get the family to work with it.
Tip 6: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Sailing is a team effort that requires everyone on board to contribute. Assign roles to each family member, whether navigating, raising sails, or cooking meals. Working together makes the journey smoother and fosters a sense of unity and shared accomplishment. Even at the age of four years old, our daughter, Sienna, was our spotter. She’d snuggle up on pillows under the sprayhood and yell out anytime she saw another vessel.
In my book, Checklists for Sailors, I have a section on Duties and Responsibilities. We use the word ‘Officer’ to make our family/guests feel special.
Depending on how many people we have, where we’re going, and the duration of their stay, we’d divvy out roles such as Cook, Safety Officer, and First Aid Officer and discuss who would do the anchoring, throw the lines, or do the lazy lines.
One of my readers took each role, printed them on index cards, and had the family pick out of a hat. Sometimes, each person would keep their role for their stay, and other times they’d switch them around.
And we never limit the tasks to grown-ups. Children love to get involved. Our daughter and her friends often do the log, help with the First Aid Kit (under supervision), helm the boat, and do many anchoring tasks. If only I could get them as excited about helping with the heads.
Get more information on all the checklists, and loads more sailing tips for families, grab a copy of my book, Checklists for Sailors, here: https://sailingbritican.com/checklists-for-sailors/
Tip 7: Disconnect to Reconnect (More Sailing Tips for Families)
One of the greatest gifts of sailing is the chance to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with your loved ones and the natural world around you. Leave your devices behind or use them sparingly to capture special moments. Embrace the simplicity of life on the water and savor the quality time with your family.
When we crossed the Atlantic Ocean, it took us 18 days. Our cell phones didn’t work; our only communication with the outside world was weather reports. The first few days were challenging as we all tried to Google something! After a while, it felt amazing to be disconnected.
No distractions. We had an excuse not to contact anyone, and it was great.
We have boat friends who declared their sailboats a tech-free zone during passages, which worked wonders for their relationships. Without the distractions of screens, they engaged in heartfelt conversations, stargazed together, and rekindled their love for classic board games. Remember mom and dad – you have to lead by example!
Tip 8: Respect the Environment
As you sail through the ocean, remember that you’re entering the realm of countless marine creatures. Practice responsible boating by avoiding sensitive habitats, refraining from littering, and minimizing your impact on the ecosystem. Encourage your family to be eco-conscious sailors and stewards of the sea.
Whenever we see anything floating in the sea, we try to get it out. For the most part, we pick up trash in our dinghy, but once while sailing across the Ionian Sea, we pulled a 6’ inflatable plastic shark from the water. When my husband Simon and I spotted it, we couldn’t figure out what it was. We dropped our sails, motored over to it, and had a unique catch of the day!
For families with school-aged children there are numerious marine biology homeschooling packs. Do a Google search and you’ll be amazed at all the resources available to teach about conservation and making our oceans cleaner.
Tip 9: Capture Memories Creatively
Document your sailing journey creatively to relive the magic for years to come. Encourage your family members to keep journals, sketch breathtaking landscapes, or capture candid snapshots of each other. These mementos will be cherished treasures that remind you of your maritime adventure.
Friends of ours turned their sailing trip into a multimedia project, with the kids creating a daily vlog and the parents compiling a photo album. This collaborative effort allowed each family member to showcase their unique perspective, resulting in a vibrant collection of memories they still enjoy revisiting.
And look at all the YouTube sailing families! Most start doing videos for fun because it’s a fantastic way to capture the adventure (and then it takes hold and before you know it, you’re a YouTuber…but that’s another story).
Tip 10: Celebrate Simple Pleasures (Final one of sailing tips for families)
Life on a boat encourages you to appreciate the simple pleasures in life—a stunning sunset, the sound of waves, a pod of dolphins playing in your wake. Encourage your family to pause and savor these moments, fostering gratitude for the beauty of the world around you.
Every day, we celebrate the sunset – whether sailing or at anchor. We stop boat jobs or doing whatever we’re doing and specifically feel gratitude for the beautiful lives we live.
Ready to Embark on Your Sailing Adventure?
Now armed with ten fantastic tips, you’re more than ready to embark on your unforgettable family sailing adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a complete novice, remember that the sea has a way of teaching you life lessons while creating precious memories.
So, set your sights on the horizon, catch the wind in your sails, and let the sea guide you to new horizons. Bon voyage, and may your journey be as beautiful as the waves that carry you!
And if you’re feeling the call of the sea, don’t hesitate to take that leap. Book a Sailing Lifestyle Experience with us today and embark on a journey that promises to be a chapter in your family’s story that you’ll treasure forever. The wind beckons and your adventure awaits!
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