Sailing: How To Get Your Kids Started

Sailing: How To Get Your Kids Started | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

If you've ever wondered about how you can get your kids interested and started with sailing, you are not alone. Many boating enthusiasts want their kids to share their passion early on.

If you already love sailing, it's only natural that you would want your kids to become boating enthusiasts. After all, you want to share your passion with them. When starting your kids sailing you want to plant the seeds of boating appreciation for a lifetime.

This will involve subtle methods of encouragement. You don't want to bombard them but build their knowledge brick by brick. To achieve your goal, you want to provide a rich variety of inspirational journeys. Don't rush things and keep it fun. Take your time and enjoy every minute.


Table of contents

Get Them Hooked

There are a lot of things the kids will enjoy in the water. Get them hooked by doing water-based activities with them, collecting seashells by the beach, paddling or seeing fish at the pet shop. Teach the kids to swim. Remember that water is a natural environment and it can help enormously to introduce them to be comfortable in the water at an early age. Teach them the basics and this keeps them safer in the marine environment for life.

Dine By The Sea

Pick a stunning waterside location and dine on fresh, delicious seafood by the sea. Whether it is on a boat or in a restaurant, the maritime theme is going to keep kids wanting more. Restaurants with fish tanks will fascinate the kids. Talk about marine life and where fish come from. They will want to explore more of the ocean on a boat.

Go Boat-Watching

Expose kids to different types of boats by naming their parts as you spot them on the ocean. Colorful fishing boats are fun to watch. Build up the magic and the attraction with the kids. Go to boating events in seaside towns with sea-themed celebrations, food festivals of boating festivals. Let your kids wear marine-themed clothing and read them books about sailing. Toys boats in the bathtub and clothing with boats are a great way to encourage an interest in boats and the sea.


Kids get a great introduction to sailing through watersports. Kayaking, canoeing or stand up paddleboarding are great ways of exploring inland or coastal waters without requires a high level of skill.

Bring Them To The Beach

Who doesn't love the beach? Whet the kids' appetite by paddling and looking for sea creatures in rock pools. Play beach games and go crabbing.

The beach keeps kids entertained for hours. It is only natural for them to want to explore even further by getting on the sailboat with you.

Extremely Rewarding

Starting your kids sailing is extremely rewarding. It is a good way to teach them skills that will keep them on course on the water and in life.

Plus, sailing with your kids can be a great way to bond and spend quality time together. It can even lead to a lifetime's passion for them if you get this right. If you want your kids to enjoy sailing, it is vital to make it fun and as easy as possible right from the start.


When you are starting your kids sailing, patience is key. Remember that the goal is for them to have fun and to develop sailing skills. The skill of knowing how to sail a boat can be exhilarating for a child. It teaches them independence, involves bravery and perseverance. Mastering both the elements and their boat is a thrill they will never forget.

Bring Friends

Make sailing with your kids fun by bringing their favorite friends. This way, they associate sailing with spending time with friends. Use rewards such as winning treasure to help improve their steering and concentration.

Sailing clubs may be available in your area as well if you want to go that route. However, if you already sail, there's no reason why your children can't' start sailing with you and fit right into your regular sailing schedule. Stay local when you sail so that you can sail often and for longer periods. Your child needs to have all the right gear to remain comfortable.

Learn Life-Skills

Nothing in the world packs quite as many life-skills as sailing. In one fell swoop, it packs lessons about ecology, oceanology, patience, history, engineering, and teamwork. Because of this, it is a good idea to start your child sailing as soon as they can follow the rules for safety.

Going sailing with kids will introduce them to a world they won't have access to sitting in a classroom. When you go with them when they are quite young, it is easier to get them used to a boat. The reason is that kids are by nature both curious and portable.

Sailing with kids will help create a balance between the computer world and the natural world. When your kids have too many gadgets, it may be easy to forget there are other equally enjoyable outdoor activities they can do such as learn to sail.

When you take them sailing, this helps balance out all the time they spend in the virtual world. When you and the kids are on the boat, they have no choice but to bond with the family. Laughter, conversation and shared silence are ll natural parts of a great day sailing on a boat.

Decide Together

To start your kids sailing, involve them in the decisions that need to be made before they even set foot on the boat. For example, decide where you are going.

Gather information about the distance, the time you have, the current and the weather for that particular day. Decide who is going to steer or if you are going to take the helm down a narrow channel. Is your child going to take the tiller?

The skipper will have to adjust constantly to the breeze by trimming the sailes and looking a tell tales. They will need to adjust to the environment to maintain the course. Do this with your kids and point out when the wind changes and what to do to stay on-course.

Let your kids stand need the stern to nudge the tiller at any moment with their foot for a crisis to be averted. You can let the kids stand near the tiller and as the month progresses, they can move farther but still within the tiller's reach.

This way, they learn to steer the boat on their own and understand what to do in a change of weather. Remember to check the weather forecasts before you set sail every time.

Safety First

To keep your kids safe, it is a good idea to set the rules. For example, don't let them play on the deck without adult supervision. If they want to go outside, without adults, they need to stay within the cockpit area only. No standing on the cockpit cushions. If they want to go walking around the boat as it sails, they need to hold on to something at all times, preferably an adult.

Drink Water - Make sure the kids drink a lot of fluid before they sail. Give everyone water bottles to drink while out at sea. It is important to keep your kids safe while sailing. A little foresight does go a long way when it comes to kids and boats. However, remember that it is all going to be worth it.

Sunscreen - In the water, the sun tends to be more intense. Kids need to wear sunscreen while sailing and to wear a t-shirt. Bring fever medicine as well as sore-throat meds and painkillers, as well as band-aids just in case.

Seasickness - Kids sometimes feel seasick when they sail for the first time. If your child is feeling seasick, keep them on deck rather than below deck to breathe fresh air and feel better.

Safety Net - Installing a safety net before you begin to sail is a good idea especially if you have very young kids on the boat. Safety nets provide children with protection as they sunbathe or play on the deck. Also, a safety net stops anyone from sliding overboard. For extra safety measures, you can even attach your child to a harness while on deck.

Life Jackets - Every child must have a life jacket on when sailing. Even if they know how to swim and that the waters of the Mediterranean tend to be calm and warm, every child on board needs to have a life-jacket.

Toys- Bring your child's favorite books and toys aboard the boat. If your child has playmates they might want to come along as well. This way, your child will look forward to the next sailing trip and find them to be extremely enjoying right from the start.

Shorter Trips First

When introducing your kids to sailing, focus on shorter destinations in the beginning. This helps everyone get their sea legs and getting used to being on a boat. Attempt bigger crossings later on. Going on short, fun trips is something everyone will enjoy. Everyone will appreciate a quick trip on the water with the kids and the kids will love being a part of it. They may even want to go again the moment your sailboat docks.

Sailing: How To Get Your Kids Started
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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