Just completed 12 days bareboat charter
aboard 38' cat out of Tortola with four and seven year old grand daughters,their parents, us grandparents + nanny (college swimmer and lifeguard experience).
Advice for taking (smaller) kids
1. Kid's own agenda trumps that of adults, so be flexible
2. Kid's safety
paramount, so practice your "child overboard" drill early on
and make sure all aboard can calmly do their job in a crisis situation.
do better than adults when living in tight quarters, just keep them
fed and see that they sleep OK.
4. Kids cherish the proximity to family
and the small scale of the boat
5. Life jackets mandatory when on deck
6. Water safety
competent nanny well worth the extra expense.
7. Sun protection mandatory (Australian style beachwear is good)
8. Shore night or two mid trip good for adults who need break from boat
9. Shore night on day of arrival and also night before flying back home is
good idea to allow boat check out, provisioning
, boat return, customs
clearing, etc. without stressing family
. You also can rid yourself of sand.
Bottom line: If your kids (and you) can survive a child overboard
, and you are boat competent to retrieve the child, then by all means enjoy the family experience of sailing together. Otherwise defer until they are swim competent teens and can be trusted to behave safely while underway.