Yacht Charters can often be amazing holidays, but many people are nervous about chartering with children. They worry that, aside from the obvious safety reasons, the kids will also be out of control because of insufficient space on board for the kids to play. But from experiencing many people who have chartered yachts with kids, this is almost never the case if properly planned. In fact children usually love the experience of being on a yacht, respect the rules, and are so fascinated by the experience that they are much better behaved than they would be if cooped up in a hotel room!
The boat choice is critical. We normally recommend catamarans, because they offer so much space, both inside and outside. Catamarans also do not rock back and forth, making it a much more auspasive cruise for the entire family, and there are no dangerous stairs to get from the cockpit to the galley. Once the kids adapt to the boat, they quickly learn that they will have plenty to do – a new beach every day, jumping off the back, snorkeling after turtles and fish, deserted islands to explore. It's what kids are made for!
When chartering with children here are some basic suggestions:
- Define specific safety rules and make them very clear as soon as you get on the boat. Suggestions are: always wear life vests when not in the cockpit or indoors, never leave a boat without permission from an adult, no running or horsing around, no one up front without an adult.
- Kids are never in a dinghy alone, and should not use the motor unless they are over 16
- Make the sailing distances short, and give them plenty of time to play and run on the beach
- Rent a windsurfer or kayak, they'll love it, and you can pull them behind the dinghy for endless hours of fun
- If you're chartering a bareboat, hire a skipper to allow you to concentrate on your family, not on where to drop anchor
- Involve them and help them learn about the boat and how to sail. Show them the charts, instruments, switches, winches, routes. Have them use the winch to tighten a sail and push the button for the anchor. The more you involve them, the more they'll learn to love boats and sailing.