Taking Kids Cruising

In the wake of the rescue of a young family stranded at sea with a sick toddler, there's been a media brouhaha about the decision to take their children on a sailboat.  Numerous articles have been written already about risks and rewards, like this beautiful one about raising a child dangerously. All the parents who have brought their kids on boats have had to think hard about what that means, whether they are living aboard in a marina, day sailing, coastal sailing, or crossing oceans.

Brittany (Windtraveler) thinks the most important thing parents can give their kids is time out in nature, with both parents

and she finds herself reiterating defenses she had to make about her parenting in an earlier post

Behan (Sailing With Totem) is proud to be considered one of the

To Cidnie (Our Life With Ceol Mor),

Diane (Ceilydh Set Sail) answers lots of questions about the nitty-gritty of cruising with their daughter

Daphne Stuart (Boat Trips) found herself facing and conquering her own fears in order to show her kids in order to visit a special place, traveling with just

Genevieve (It's a Necessity) compiled a wonderful photo post

Tamiko (Landfall Voyages) offers up a

Tammy (Things We Did Today) said "[I] haven't taken children cruising ... I only wish I had;" and offers

Bec (Cruising With Cid) offers thoughts on the risk and value of

(Note: We're treating this topic a bit differently than other Monkey Fist topics because of the immediacy of the situation and the emotions, so please bear with a few more "rough edges" than normal.  We'd love  links to posts you have written on your own blogs about  about your decision to take your kids to sea, or not.  We are interesting in your reasoning and your adventures.  If that reasoning leads you to the conclusion that having children aboard was not appropriate for you, we'd like to hear that also.  BUT, posts bashing someone else's decisions will NOT be accepted. I'd like this collection to be honest, but I'll **demand** that it be civil.)


  1. 11 years ago I may have thought sailing with a toddler was dangerous. 10 years ago our 21 year old daughter began working on private yachts and sailing off into unknown waters, at least they were unknown to us North Texas Landlubbers. In the last 10 years we've learned not only a lot about sailing but a lot about the people who choose to live their lives on boats. After following many sailing family blogs I have come to admire these people who choose to live their lives free and full of adventure, especially for their children. I now wish I could have raised my children on a boat. I work in a elementary school and on a daily basis I see parents putting their children's lives in danger. They refuse to vaccinate, their children. They refuse to use car seats for their babies as they speed through heavy traffic. They allow their children from as young as 5 years old to ride a bus home from school and let themselves into an empty apartment and cook themselves something to eat. They also allow these children to walk down the side of a highway alone to get to and from school. I consider neglect dangerous parenting, not sailing. In the past 10 years we have learned to open our minds and stop living in fear. When our children tell us they are sailing off to Cuba or riding a Honda 100 from Panama to Austin, Texas, we listen to their confidence as they plan their trip. Their confidence stifles any fears we may have. I don't want my kids to know that I live in fear. Fear is what makes people tell others not to live their dreams.

  2. Excellent posts! I think the the two things that are missing from the whole cruising kids debate are 1. What do you mean by cruising--there is an enormous difference between Island hopping when you are only doing 1-3 night passages and 40 day passages and 2. Age of the child. There is also an enormous difference between an infant who by design has a poor immune system and requires constant care and a school aged child who is sturdier and more self-sufficient (and may even help with the sailing!). I think it is a mistake to lump all of theses families together. The other thing I'm not sure I understand is why people are raising money for the Kaufmans. If they were planning to cruise RTW, don't they have savings? If their boat was their home, why wasn't it insured? I'm not nit-picking, I'm just curious. I'm glad they are ok and think they made the right call to get help for their babygirl.