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Kids on board - On a big trip with the little ones

Whether it's a day trip or a longer tour during the summer holidays, water sports are a great pastime for families with children. There are no age restrictions, even babies and toddlers can be taken on board without hesitation. With the right planning, a few safety precautions and a few rules of conduct, a great holiday is almost guaranteed.

Safety should always be the top priority on every cruise, whether by sailing ship or motorboat. What applies to adults and is often disregarded should be the first mantra of water sports, especially for children: Life jackets on board are mandatory and appropriate equipment is essential. For example, the yacht should have an all-round railing that is ideally additionally secured with railing nets. There should be sufficient space in the cabin to protect the little ones during mooring and casting off manoeuvres, safe space for a nap, an undisturbed meal, and shelter in bad weather. In addition, extra secure sleeping accommodation should be provided.

Short cruises to avoid boredom

"I equipped the side bunk with a lee sail that can be tied up, and padded the bunk with cushions," says Joachim Nowak. The 37-year-old is a sailor, father of a family and works for the yacht insurance specialist Pantaenius. He knows what he is talking about when it comes to the safety of children on board. Nowak has two daughters, Greta and Clara, who were taken on sailing trips even as babies. "When Greta was very young, it was quite relaxed as she slept most of the time. Making a longer shot over 30 to 40 miles was no problem at all." Today, however, he and his wife plan the trips a little differently, "We don't sail for more than two or three hours at a time, so that the little ones don't get bored. And if there’s a strong and confident wind, we have a harbour day."Making optimal use of the available space becomes a real challenge with children on board.

Where to put the pram? How many toys can I take with me? Is there an alternative to the playpen? Nowak, for example, screwed the seat of a children's swing onto a bulkhead. "This is simply put into the companionway, Clara comes into the seat and gets some food in her hand. She's right in the middle of the action and well secured at the same time." On deck and in the harbour the girls always have to wear a life jacket. At sea the little ones are additionally secured with a life belt.

Always with you: a child-friendly on-board pharmacy

Parents should pay particular attention to the on-board pharmacy, which should feature antipyretic medication and wound ointment, as well as remedies for colds and inflammations, charcoal tablets for diarrhoea, dermatol powder and penate cream for abrasions and cuts. Not forgetting sufficient sun protection and this begins with a cap, best with an extension over the neck, and using a children’s sun cream with high sun protection factor. In the evening, After Sun lotion should also be applied.For Joachim Nowak, time aboard with his wife and children is absolute quality time. "We use our time aboard very actively – having lots of fun an adventures, and the cramped conditions literally bring us very close together. This is really a very intensive family life."        

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