Sailing with your kids can be an excellent opportunity to get closer to them and probably to yourself.
No matter if you are day sailing or travelling around the world, safety is one of the main concerns when children are onboard. Lifejackets, harness and basic safety equipment are mandatory in any circumstances, but one very important aspect of safety is how comfortable the kid feels in the boat. Let them explore the boat and teach how to do the things properly. The sooner the better. Most probably, independence and confidence will be part of your child, and they will be soon quiet agile be moving around the boat (which is also important for safety issues). It is always a good practice to be prepared for situations where you know you are not going to get any extra support. Plan for medical equipment and drugs according to your trip. As any other outdoor activities sailing involves its particular risks. I’m particularly not aware of any statistics on that, but how do we compare the “normal” the day to day life risks with sailing?
Another challenge for the parents is to keep the children entertained, especially if you are in a long ocean/coastal trip. Whenever possible (considering all the uncertainties associated with sailing/cruising) establishing a routine onboard is key. Getting them involved in the activities is also very important as they start better understanding sailing and also the pleasure of supporting the achievement of a common goal.
If we change the perspective a bit, even for an adult that is not very familiar with spending time in a confined space and more important, with himself, it can be challenging to get adapted. So, even if you are carrying toys, books, tablets etc, at some point the children can be bored. Although it sometimes might be demanding, use your creativity to play with your kid. Use your imagination to create a fairy-tale, tell them your life story, share your dreams. This will certainly help strengthening your relation and grow the empathy. It might also be a great opportunity to better know your own emotions, to deal with them (and as a consequence become better at relationships) and to reflect about your goals and ambitions.
Most of the safety issues and the risks associated with sailing can be dealt with proper planning, but are you ready to deal with yourself?