ON CRUISING WITH KIDS
excerpt from The Best Tips from Women Aboard, Edited by Maria
Russell, ©2000 ISBN 0-9663520-1-7 To order call 1-877-WMN-ABRD
or click on www.womenaboard.com
submit your own tips and advice, CLICK HERE!
the kids involved! Even grammar school kids can do the math to figure the scope
needed to safely set the anchor.
can help plan each day’s route.
Multiply average expected speed by the time available until you
would like to be secured for the night in order to find the maximum
comfortable distance you can cover in a day. Then check the guides for a suitable marina or anchorage near
that location. For short
distance cruisers, there are still lots of variables that the kids can
consider. The more
involved the children are, the more fun they’ll have and the more
accomplished they’ll feel.
can learn to steer, read a compass, follow a chart, cleat down a line
and throw it. Knot tying
and learning to stow lines and fenders properly are basics for
children living around the water.
rotate watches. A certain
length of time “on duty” followed by time “off duty” breaks up
the sometimes tedious wait for youngsters anxious to “get there.”
It also keeps everyone aware of where they are, and how they
got there. These skills, and the ability to use the radio, may
save lives somewhere down the line.
Remember, the most skilled captain may eventually be
incapacitated by illness or injury.
Your family and even your guests may be the only possible way
to get the boat back to shore.
important to get input from the whole family during the planning
stages of any adventure. Everyone
should be able to have a voice in where they will go and what they
will see and do as they travel.
a supply of books about various aspects of where you are and where
you’re going so that children —as well as adults—can learn about
things that exist beyond the beach border of a state or country.
what begins as “play” evolves into a learning activity, so
encourage the natural sequence of events.
Children’s minds are like sponges: they absorb a lot.
Take this natural curiosity and channel it into an awareness of
the world around the boat. Soon
they won’t miss the mall.
boat rules early, making sure they aren’t all “don’ts.”
To function as a good team, everyone must feel that they are
needed. Assign chores and
jobs, equally mixing the have-to-do’s and the want-to-do’s.
a cruising trip, the whole family should go to a local YMCA and/or
sports club pool to learn swimming safety and CPR.
basic piloting and navigation as soon as your child shows interest.
older children to steer and stand short watches.
at the stars of the night sky. Talk
about how mariners of old navigated to uncharted lands.
on tape provide an excellent way to pass the time, especially when
you’re underway, standing watch,
or holed up inside the boat due to bad weather.
the importance of privacy and alone-time.
It’s a good idea to set aside a certain hour of day to spend
with one’s self, reading, journalizing, writing letters, etc.
each child a “Do Not Disturb” indicator so that the concept of
privacy can exist even if the reality is marginal.
having your child’s best friend join you for part of your cruise.
Not only can the anticipation of seeing friends be exciting,
but it gives your child the chance to show off her world.
letter writing. When sharing their experiences on an on-going basis, writers
are more likely to pay attention to the details of each new discovery.
ability to play a musical instrument provides loads of entertainment,
both for the musician AND his audience!
state or national parks on your itinerary.
When you get there, find a ranger and get a full tour. Their enthusiasm is entertaining and oftentimes contagious!
the park isn’t staffed, find local information and have your own
each child keep a combination diary/log/photo album.
memories of unique times and special places will last long after the
cruise is over.
safety’s sake, develop some easily recognized ship-to-shore signals
for dinghy pick-ups or general attention-getters.
Batteries have been known to run out in handheld radios.
teenagers are out, especially with the dinghy at night, check-in
time is not an approximate—even in home port.
The reasons should be obvious.
Give each child a handheld radio for his or her 13th birthday
and explain that parents don’t want to be worriers...it just goes
along with the territory.