Sailing with Kids


Voyaging with Kids: three cruising parents collaborated to write the definitive guide to family cruising, from the inception of the dream to transitioning home and the influence on kids later in life. Includes input from more than 60 different cruising families and chapters dedicated to babies and teens.

Homeschooling: Kate Laird is a long-time cruiser and liveaboard; she’s behind Homeschool Teacher book and blog, both great resources.

Community: Facebook groups including Liveaboard sailing families (with kids) and Kids4Sail help kid boats get started and then find each other.

What do boat kids sayDelos crew’s Señor Brady interviews Totem’s three kids, about 2/3 through their circumnavigation:

What do other families do? Totem maintains a page with links to the blogs of active cruisers (well over 100!), and another with a list of the blogging families afloat.

This is not kid-specific, more like “stuff everyone needs,” but something every parent wonders about . Medical training from providers of “Wilderness First Responder” (WFR) courses can offer parents skills and confidence to handle any eventuality for their family. Popular providers are NOLS and Wilderness Medical Associates are popular providers.


Cruising as a family can mean changing your pace, but then again, the shift to cruising can translate to a pace change regardless of whether you bring a brood. There are valid concerns about the added complexity of cruising as a family, and additional precautions that must be taken for safety, but they are quite surmountable, and the rewards far exceed the complications. These are the top three based on our decade-plus of cruising with our three children.

Top reasons cruising is great for families:

  • Cruising instills patience, confidence and independence in kids
  • Time and interdependence of the lifestyle forge close family bonds
  • Traveling fosters empathy for diversity and vibrance in people and the environment

Over the years, we have run into many couples cruising as empty-nesters who expressed regret for choosing to step away from boating for a period of years when their children were young. The reasons for waiting are individual, but tend to follow similar themes. It’s not easy, but is anything worth having easy? Is raising children ever easy? Sailing away as a family can feel complicated and overwhelming but if you can make the lifestyle choices to go cruising at all, you can make them to go cruising with children.

For more reasons that cruising is great for families, click here.


Thanks to Behan Gifford from s/v Totem for providing information about traveling with kids based on their recent cruising experiences.