Our son moved aboard with us when he was 38 hours old and has been a liveaboard
boat kid his entire life. He'll be three years old in six weeks.
Being our first child, we kind of went hog wild on the safety
issues. We live on a monohull
. Naturally, we netted the entire lifeline perimeter and made custom sunbrella pannels to fill-in the railing areas around the stern and gates as soon as he learned to crawl. Below, we made custom net enclosures on his bunk and settees for day time use. One thing which worked great was a 3/4 inch piece of plywood
which fit snuggly between the first & second ladder rungs which prevented him from going up on deck
when we weren't watching. We are dock
dwellers and he has somehow developed a keen sense of caution whenever he gets near the edge of the dock
. He's fallen from the max heights of his bed
and through the companionway
and the only dammage was to our ear drums upon catching his breath. He hasn't fallen in over a year and has never fallen overboard
or off the dock. He loves playing in the water but I'm still not comfortable with his swimming ability. Patience is all it takes.
We heeded Charlie's advice early and give him simple responsibilities and include him into all aspects of day-to-day chores and decision making. We gave him his own set of plastic tools and he absolutely LOVES getting into the engine
compartment with his plastic wrench and hammer.
We impose few rules upon him other than wearing his lifejacket before we get into the dinghy
and holding onto the lifelines
until we're ready for him. He still gets his bumps & bruises and gets scraped-up from time-to-time.
The car seat in the cockpit
works great so long as it's near the helm
. He used to frett a bit while we were casting our lines but he's even over that now. He has yet to want to leave the cockpit when underway.
We try to lead by good example and he's becoming a fine young sailor.
And I'm sure everything'll work
out just fine for the rest of you adventurous parents and parents to be... so long as you use common sense and keep your guard up.
Kirk, Cath & Stuart ~~~_/) ~~~ the Gallivanters