Happy Skipper!

Some may question whether sailing with small children is recommended – for your sanity that is! Have a bit of patience, set some realistic goals (don’t make your first sail a 10 hour journey), do some planning, put a few rules in place and you will discover that sailing can be one of the most wonderful, not to mention rewarding experiences shared by the whole family with memories to last a lifetime.

Here are a few tips to get you off to a good start:


  • Ensure your child’s life jacket fits them properly and meets with Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) approval
  • Get into the habit and put your child’s lifejacket on before you step on the boat
  • Don’t forget their boat shoes, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and bug repellant
  • Bring appropriate clothing to protect your child from the elements and remember that it is always colder on the water
  • Consider attaching a tether (safety harness) around your child if they wander a lot, especially during those times like docking or anchoring when your full attention is required elsewhere
  • A safety net installed over the lifelines can provide extra protection for keeping children on board the boat

Fun Factor

  • Get your child a duffel bag and let them bring along their favourite books, toys, music, and snacks for those moments when their attention wanders
  • Let your child bring along a friend as he or she shares the joy of sailing with them
  • Children always want to help – teach them about the basic parts of the boat and let them be involved with sailing the boat
  • Mix it up a bit, sailing is great but heading to a destination and exploring a new island, port or anchorage for example is just as much fun for a child

Proven Hits

Handing over the helm to your child and letting them take control of the boat is the ultimate way to share your love of sailing but don’t expect them to give it up anytime soon.