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Sailing with a one-year-old #155496
02/23/2018 08:04 AM
02/23/2018 08:04 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 95
rstevens Offline OP
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rstevens  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 95
Been sailing in the Virgin Islands for more than 30 years and loved almost every minute of it. (I assume readers have experienced one or more moments that were not idyllic wink

Planning another trip this June with my son, his wife, and their one-year-old daughter (She's seven-months-old at present and quite a handful.) Now, my son has voiced reservations.

I have weathered storms, fouled props, drunken sailors, and mutiny, but never a one-year-old on a boat.

Looking for helpful advice.

BVI Sponsors
Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: rstevens] #155498
02/23/2018 08:31 AM
02/23/2018 08:31 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 426
7
706jim Offline
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706jim  Offline
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7
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 426
Don't

Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: rstevens] #155500
02/23/2018 09:11 AM
02/23/2018 09:11 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 4,953
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Offline
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GeorgeC1  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 4,953
GA/NC
Most charter boats are not set up for infants. Personally I would be scared to death the entire trip to have my grandson onboard. It’s rare to have a serious issue on a charter boat but when it happens it can be bad. The issue with mosquito illnesses is another factor.
G

Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: rstevens] #155507
02/23/2018 10:48 AM
02/23/2018 10:48 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 61
Massachusetts
S
Sea&SkiPJ Offline
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Sea&SkiPJ  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 61
Massachusetts
In my 30+ years of sailing, I've encountered all sorts of challenging conditions; gales, dead-calms, dense fog, even sailing the BVI with my wife who was 8-months pregnant at the time. Through all, I could probably relate some good thing that emerged from the experience. But, unless I had absolutely no choice, I couldn't think of any good reason to have an infant on board a pleasure cruise. Look at it from this perspective, the stress and tension to which you'll likely be exposed, as a result of constant concern for the child's welfare, would almost certainly put a damper on any pleasure that you hope to experience. Better to disappoint your son than ruin a vacation and deal with the aftermath. PJ

Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: rstevens] #155509
02/23/2018 11:12 AM
02/23/2018 11:12 AM
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 109
Bozeman / Minneapolis
snowdog Offline
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snowdog  Offline
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Posts: 109
Bozeman / Minneapolis
I agree with the others. Don't charter with a 1-yr old.


s/v Snow Dog - Leopard 46
Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: rstevens] #155510
02/23/2018 11:16 AM
02/23/2018 11:16 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,725
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline
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BEERMAN  Offline
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B
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,725
VIRGINIA
We have sailed twice with a little one. Both times were with Maytrix, once when his son was less than 1 year old and not yet walking, and once when he was just under 2 years old and walking.

I won't lie, my first thoughts were leaning towards all the "what if's" and possible negatives. I'm glad we went both times and here's a list of why they were both very successful and pleasant trips.

- Conner had a great disposition, yes, he had his rare "baby moments", but honestly he was a great kid to be around. Our experience would have been much different if he was a cranky kid, which he really never was, or if he was a fidgety kid, which he wasn't, even when tethered to things all over the boat. The pfd didn't appear to bothered him either.

- Matt and his wife were very organized and prepared/outfitted nicely for having a baby on board included having a lightweight portable play crib, they had some type of secure set up in the cabin for sleeping. They had an appropriate fitting pfd with harness and tether etc. Clothing, hats, sunglasses, the best waterproof sunscreen etc. They had SO MUCH gear to assure that they were covered for all scenarios on the boats or on land.

- The parents! Sorry Matt I have to expose something personal about you guys....they were never visibly overwhelmed or anxious about anything, each shared in the daily routines giving each other breaks. They were so prepared, especially with the ton of gear they brought. Great parents!

- Medical emergency concerns...heck Matt's sister was with us and she's a nurse! I'm a rusty former EMT and was happy to have her on board for the "what if's"

- A/C...We had a large cat with genset a/c on the first trip....A/C is very important in my opinion. However when we sailed Matt's mono from St Lucia to the BVI's we only had dock side a/c and spent a few steamy nights without a/c, I think the adults were more uncomfortable than Conner.

- Mosquitos..I don't remember a problem. Matt can chime in on how they dealt with that, but he was always dressed appropriately when hiking where skeeters would have been at their worst.

- Dinghy concerns...the pfd they used had a nice hand strap and Matt would easily transfer the priceless cargo from the scoop to someone in the dinghy. On at least one stop, White Bay I think, I took a practice run to the beach to see if it would be too challenging to take him in. We were fortunate that the conditions were great during our trip, having to hand him back and forth at the scoop in unsettled conditions could be stressful.

- Disruptions to the crews good times? nah! there were times when Matt or his wife chose to stay on the cat while others hiked etc. It does take a little longer to prepare to go ashore with a baby, have to make sure you have everything they'll need. On our trip from St Lucia I discovered our cabin air vents were a microphone for Conner...I wake up early so no biggie, but O-dark early each day I'd hear his tiny voice saying...momma, momma, momma, momma. Oh, and dirty diaper issues...they must have zip locked them because we never noticed a thing!!

A trip like this is not for everyone, but I was happy to photograph Conner's feet touching the BVI sand for the first time ever on Cooper! Hope this sheds some light, good luck with your decision making, cheers!

Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: rstevens] #155540
02/23/2018 02:39 PM
02/23/2018 02:39 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,489
Massachusetts
maytrix Offline
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maytrix  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,489
Massachusetts
I think Rick (BEERMAN) covered most everything. I'll add what I can.

When we first we're looking at the trip, we really didn't have too many concerns that wouldn't have been a concern anywhere else we might go - they are just a little different (hotel rooms have risks for example..). Weather forecasts are pretty decent these days and we wouldn't have put ourselves in a position of being in a place under bad weather. If there was going to be a big storm, we would have left or possibly not even gone down. Since trips are booked ahead of time, those are decisions you need to be willing to make - might be good to have insurance. Fortunately, we had great weather the whole time.

The other concern we had, even though he had no signs of allergies was if he had an allergic reaction. So we got an Epi-pen just to be safe. Never had an issue here either.

Safety around water and while on the boat we're the only other two concerns. We simply made sure he always had his life vest on and was always supervised.

Mosquito's we're never a big concern. I'm sure many wouldn't think twice of spending a week on St. John or St. Thomas with a little one and I think the risk of mosquito's is greater on land. We simply covered up when needed and put bug spray on whenever we went ashore. Mosquito's are a problem at home too and we just take the same precautions.

He's been on 4 trips so far, all prior to turning 2 (he just turned 3 a couple weeks ago) and we had a great time on all of them and he did too. He wants to go again soon (as do we)!

The one thing that has become easier is each trip we managed to bring a little less stuff. First trip, we had a LOT. Diapers, baby food, you name it. 2, 3rd and 4th trip he was 1 and was eating regular food, so that made things a lot easier. We also stopped bringing the pack n play as 1) it was one more large thing to bring and 2) he was too big for it. Sleeping in a cabin worked great and we just brought our camera baby monitor so we could keep an eye on him. Having shore power or Genset are key to have stuff like that running.

Happy to answer any specific concerns or anything like that. We've always pretty much taken him everywhere with us. And we are glad we did these trips with him as we all had such a good time (did I already say that?). I think the other thing that made it easy was the great crew we had each time as well! Everyone spent some time with him here and there.

Here's some pics from that first trip - Album will expire in 60 days - just an FYI for anyone reading this later on.. https://1drv.ms/f/s!ArF5dENynbvii6czLihYjHi2oIhS6g

Our trips we're on a few different boats. One on a Moorings 4800, One on their 4000 (that was our favorite due to the forward galley and essentially large play area he had inside - we just had to block off the stairway to each hull. Then we were on our boat for 2 trips which was great too and where he had his own cabin (or shared cabin with us). I'd suggest a cat, but a monohull would be fine too - larger with A/C would probably be preferred, but something with shore power would work too. It is easy to spend every night on the dock if you want to.

Since we've done this many times, I'm happy to answer any specific questions or concerns. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message.

Matt


Matt
Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: rstevens] #155550
02/23/2018 06:12 PM
02/23/2018 06:12 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 584
Houston, Texas
louismcc Offline
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louismcc  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 584
Houston, Texas
While we didn't start as early as 1, we did start sailing with both our boys at the early toddler stage, which given their mobility did add some concerns. We sailed with friends who brought their daughter down at probably that age and left for the trip literally the day after she had ear tubes inserted. In all cases it worked out fine. I think the key part was to always have someone dedicated to watching the child. You never know what they might find interesting. On one trip one child was fascinated by the winches and would sit by (an unused) winch and pretend it was the baggage carousel he had just seen at the airport.

Some issues while underway were trying to find food, replenishing diapers, and keeping soiled diapers around until we reached a garbage disposal location. (Still have memories of that 20+ years later!).

We brought life jackets down, and on later trips when they were older, appropriately sized snorkels and masks. We also brought kid sized harnesses, though we seldom had a need for them.

While I can't speak for post-Irma capabilities, over the years having VISAR around certainly made for a lot of piece of mind. When our older son was about 12, he was having a reaction to an anti-seizure medication he had been prescribed prior to our departure. Cutting him off cold turkey could have precipitated seizures so we contemplated shutting it all down and heading home. After conversations with VISAR about their ability to reach us from various locations, we decided to stay and were glad we did. We never had to utilize their services but were grateful for their availability.


Louis from Houston
Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: rstevens] #155552
02/23/2018 06:36 PM
02/23/2018 06:36 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 152
R
Rhindley Offline
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Rhindley  Offline
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R
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 152
My first time down was with my wife and two daughters...their ages at the time were 3 and 1. No problems at all. Do it!!!

Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: rstevens] #155572
02/24/2018 11:06 AM
02/24/2018 11:06 AM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 639
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Cleobeach Offline
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Cleobeach  Offline
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Posts: 639
Originally Posted by rstevens
Been sailing in the Virgin Islands for more than 30 years and loved almost every minute of it. (I assume readers have experienced one or more moments that were not idyllic wink

Planning another trip this June with my son, his wife, and their one-year-old daughter (She's seven-months-old at present and quite a handful.) Now, my son has voiced reservations.

I have weathered storms, fouled props, drunken sailors, and mutiny, but never a one-year-old on a boat.

Looking for helpful advice.

Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: rstevens] #155573
02/24/2018 11:31 AM
02/24/2018 11:31 AM
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 1,049
S
StormJib Offline
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StormJib  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 1,049
Whether the child is 1 or 70 any person or pet that cannot reliably respond to NO is best left at the dock, at home, or back at the hotel away from the pool.

If you must put someone that cannot be counted on to take care of themselves anywhere near the water for an extended period of time. 7x24 7 days?

You should take great care in procuring great and comfortable PFD's Take special note on the fabric and fit. Always have more than one. Three if need be. You always wanta dry PFD just like every mom knows you want dry diapers.

If would not want to wear the PFD fabric 24x7 the baby will not want to wear it either.

Always have PFD's with a handle or strap behind the head. The stap may save the little one from going over the side and that stap will be what you will use to pluck the baby from the water when the MOB happens.

If you have any doubt on the willpower of all the adults to keep the non swimmers in a PFD 24/7 rent a house away from the water.

Not all adults and children are created equal. Measure your complete group and temperament and think about it. A one year old will get no value by being on a boat 24/7. Any sofa with people who love the child will be plenty.

.

Last edited by StormJib; 02/24/2018 11:53 AM.
Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: Cleobeach] #155574
02/24/2018 11:35 AM
02/24/2018 11:35 AM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 639
C
Cleobeach Offline
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Cleobeach  Offline
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Joined: May 2008
Posts: 639
I messed up my response.

Your comment about your son having reservations likely gives you the answer.

I’ll add that we started traveling with our son at 3 months old. While we didn’t sail, we did trips that otherwise had our friends saying we were crazy.

There are two key factors to consider -

Child’s temperament - we are blessed with a child who is “chill” for lack of a better word. Even as an infant, we could take him anywhere and he was happy to nap under a palm tree, slept great in strange beds, eat off our plates when he started solids, etc.

Parents attitude - my husband and I were on the same page. We knew we wanted to travel and made the necessary accommodations to make it a great experience. We worked as a team. No bad attitudes because one adult was bitter about not being able to sit at the bar for three hours, wanted to sleep til noon or whatever.

OP - my advice is to give serious consideration to your DIL’s attitude about this trip. Is she excited or is already thinking about everything that will go wrong? Is she the type that will freak out if nap or mealtime is 5 min late? Those types don’t travel well in my experience.

Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: rstevens] #155575
02/24/2018 11:55 AM
02/24/2018 11:55 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 426
7
706jim Offline
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706jim  Offline
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7
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 426
Regarding my earlier post ("Don't), I should say that we took our three month old daughter clear across Lake Superior in our 22' cuddy.

But that trip didn't cost a zillion dollars and we stayed at marinas, not anchorages.

For the BVI I would still say don't.

Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: Cleobeach] #155584
02/24/2018 02:00 PM
02/24/2018 02:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,140
Somewhere out there
kneafseym Offline
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kneafseym  Offline
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Posts: 3,140
Somewhere out there
We started Lilly at 7 weeks on the boat. We had a 40 ft cat. Pretty simple with her. Some tricks:
1. Bring diapers as you can't be assured you will find the size the need
2. A cockpit cooler is a great bathtub and play zone
3. Odds are the child will be exhausted and sleep through dinner, so we would just bring a setup that we could create a pallet for her to sleep
4. There were some buzz kill moments, but I think that was as she got a bit older
5. Easy to rig a swing with the boson chair from the clew of the jib sheets to a lot of fun.

The trip won't be as much fun, but we were not too concerned about safety, we were the horrible parents that didn't even have life jacket requirement, but our cat was pretty safe boat.


Mike
Re: Sailing with a one-year-old [Re: kneafseym] #155672
02/27/2018 09:00 AM
02/27/2018 09:00 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,489
Massachusetts
maytrix Offline
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maytrix  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,489
Massachusetts
Originally Posted by kneafseym

1. Bring diapers as you can't be assured you will find the size the need

The trip won't be as much fun, but we were not too concerned about safety, we were the horrible parents that didn't even have life jacket requirement, but our cat was pretty safe boat.


We had 1 bag that was diapers, wipes and baby food and it was pretty much full. 2nd, 3rd and 4th trip when he was 2, we at least we were able to cut out the food and save some space. Looking forward to our next since he's potty trained, it is a LOT easier!

We never felt the trips we're not as much fun, it was just a different kind of fun.


Matt

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