- #1 Make It Exciting
- #2 Let Them Help You Decide On Your Perfect Boat
- #3 Take Your Kids Sailing
- #4 Watch YouTube Videos
- #5 Send Your Kids to Sailing School
- #6 Send Your Kids to Swimming Lessons
- #7 Ease Their Worries About Finding Friends
- #8 Sell Them on Homeschooling
- #9 Spending More Time With Mom And Dad
- #10 Selling Your Kids On Cruising Activities
OK, so you have decided that you are going to buy a boat and go cruising. You and your spouse have agreed. In x amount of time, you’re leaving land life and moving onto a boat. Heading away from life as you know it, school, family, and friends. So how do you sell sailing to your kids? How do you get your kids engaged and excited? Here are my top 10 tips on selling sailing to your kids.
We have two kids, a boy, and a girl. We started sailing when they were 13 and 8. I read a lot about how kids this age don’t want to leave land life and their friends. This was not our experience at all. We included our kids in our planning from the beginning, keeping them engaged and excited throughout the whole journey to becoming a cruiser.
#1 Make It Exciting
Have no fear, transitioning to living on a boat comes naturally to most kids. Although there are some things you can do before leaving land life to make the transition easier for them. Being part of the planning process important. It is a great way to get your kids excited and engaged in the new adventure you are about to embark on.
Talk about places you can visit that would probably be unaffordable if you didn’t live on a boat. Highlight different people and cultures that you will come across on your journey. Sell sailing to your kids as an exciting way to travel, and see the world.
#2 Let Them Help You Decide On Your Perfect Boat
Show your kids’ boat pictures and websites of the kind of boat you want to buy. If you’re not sure of what kind of boat you want, let them help you work through our Ultimate Cruising Boat Evaluation Checklist. Find pictures of boat interiors, show them what their cabin might look like.
If possible, take them with you to a local boat show. Get on as many different boats as possible. Talk to the vendors and get your kids excited about boats and boating in general.
If you live in a place where there is a marina, walk down the docks. Look at the different boats. Maybe have lunch or a drink at a waterside restaurant, spending time watching all the boating activity. Talk to the people who live on boats, ask them how they like being sailors.
#3 Take Your Kids Sailing
A great way of selling sailing to your kids is to get them on the water. If possible, take your kids sailing for a day. Even better, if you can afford it, go on a sailing holiday. This doesn’t mean that you need to break the bank on a sailing holiday to the BVI’s or Bora Bora. You will get there eventually on your own boat anyway.
Find out if you can rent a boat for a day or go sailing with your local sailing school or yacht club. See if your local yacht club offers sailing days. When you find the boat you are planning on buying. Take the kids with you for the sea trial.
#4 Watch YouTube Videos
Many video bloggers have kids and put their journey’s on YouTube. Watch some videos of cruising families. Watch the youtube videos together as a family so you can talk about it afterward. Before we left land life, we spent Sunday mornings watching the latest episodes of the video blogs we followed.
Learn How To Start a WordPress Sailing Blog
I get so many emails on how to start blogging and how to set-up & configure WordPress that I decided to make a quick ‘How-To’ Guide. If you’re thinking of starting up a sailing Blog this should get you started on the right track.
#5 Send Your Kids to Sailing School
One of the best ways of selling sailing to your kids is by sending them to sailing school. If you have a lake or ocean close to where you live, find out if they have sailing classes. Some sail schools also offer kid’s summer sailing camps.
Our kids were 6 and 11 when they first went to a summer sailing camp. They had a blast, and more importantly, they got to learn the basics of sailing a little boat. I think the most important skill they learned was to stay calm during drills like capsizing and righting the boat. Not that you want to do that with your home! But it taught them to stay calm when things are getting spicy.
#6 Send Your Kids to Swimming Lessons
Being able to swim will make your kids more confident living on a boat. It will take any fear of the water they may have away. Once they can swim, you can get them excited about all the amazing snorkeling they will be doing when you move onto the boat. Or the water toys they will have to play on. And if you want to, you can talk introduce the idea of learning to scuba dive when they are old enough.
Being able to swim is the most important skill for a boat kid. If you do nothing else for your kids before leaving the land, send them to swimming lessons and make sure they can swim. I can’t stress enough about how important swimming lessons are. I can’t imagine ever relaxing, having a child on the boat who can’t swim.
#7 Ease Their Worries About Finding Friends
When we were planning on becoming cruisers, my kids’ biggest worry was that they wouldn’t have any friends. This worry was totally unfounded. Cruising in The Caribbean or The Mediterranean, there are thousands of kids on boats.
“But how will I get to know them”? Boat kids find boat kids. Boat kids all do school in the mornings. After lunch, the kids find each other. Often they are gone all afternoon playing with their friends. They go to the beach or someone’s boat. In St. Martin, the kids spent all afternoon on Explorer Island, an island in the middle of the island lagoon. They Built forts and spent the afternoons running wild with all their friends. The Explorer island group ranged from 6 to 15 years old. They all had a blast together.
Boat kids normally move in one big group, regardless of sex or age. Everyone is invited. If, for some reason, your kid was not included. Go to the kid group and introduce your child. Before you know it, your boat will also be a child-free zone some afternoons and others a hive of activity.
#8 Sell Them on Homeschooling
On land, school lasts for 7 or 8 hours a day. Much of the day is wasted on changing classes, assembly, lunch, recess, PE, etc. Boat kids only homeschool for about 4 or 5 hours a day and still, get through their schoolwork.
Homeschooling allows your kids to work at their own pace. If they get a concept quickly, they can move on to the next module. If they are struggling with something, they can spend more time on it and not be way behind the rest of the class.
After lunchtime, the kids are free to be kids and run around with their friends. Go on an adventure, go for a hike. Join you for a shopping trip, go out for lunch, explore the island. The possibilities are endless.
#9 Spending More Time With Mom And Dad
My daughter maintains that she never wants to go back to land again because then we will go back to work. She says her favorite part of sailing is seeing Mom and Dad all the time. When we lived on land, we were both executives with very busy jobs. The only family time we really had with our kids was on weekends and not necessarily every weekend.
Now that we are cruising, we actually know our kids. We are part of their every day lives. It is wonderful to see how they have grown into self-confident, self-sufficient, capable people.
#10 Selling Your Kids On Cruising Activities
If all else fails, you can sell your kids on cruising activities. When you are a cruiser kid, daily sporting activities are your life. You just need to decide what you want to do next. Do you want to go paddle-boarding, snorkeling, diving, fishing, wake-boarding, skiing, tubing, kayaking, surfing?
I hope these 10 tips on selling sailing to your kids get them onboard with your planning for becoming a cruising kid someday. The planning part of cruising is a very exciting time. This time is made even more exciting if you have engaged and excited kids.