Aqua Map Blog

"Children on board: What to do on the boat?"

2021, October 20th
By Sara Rossini, Sailing Shibumi


Eat and sleep

Following the needs of your body and not those dictated by the social clock, has enormous benefits. On board you eat when you are hungry and sleep when you are sleepy, this is our philosophy. Except for particular conditions of navigation, it is not said that lunch is always at conventional times, it is not said that dinner is not a long aperitif or a lunch that becomes a snack. However it is on the boat you eat almost always. We tend to try to maintain a certain rigor and eat

sitting composed at the table, but the beauty of a holiday on a boat is also breaking the rules!

The sea is a natural cradle, the rocking of the boat and the sounds of nature, as the best new age compilations teach, are a good help to enjoy relaxation and dive into the arms of Morpheus. When the children were small we always preferred to keep them sleeping next to us in our bed, then growing up they opted to choose their cabin and make this their den, becoming in effect a refuge both day and night. Often in long voyages they fall asleep for naps, finding comfortable even a bag of sails, or a boat fender as a pillow.

Can I drive the boat?

The undisputed desire of every child on a boat is to be able to "drive" it. On board you can not only DRIVE the boat but the little ones can do many other things based on their abilities and age. We have also often taken advantage of their small size, for example to get them into the stern locker to retrieve a screwdriver or hoist them to the top of the mast to disengage a line, their small and agile hands are always a great help. Then as they grew up we started to empower them: Iago for example started at 8 years old to help out in the moorings, first with the rope, now if you need to go up in the tender and straighten the bow or bring the crew ashore, not least with his small muscles begin to give serious help in adjusting the sails.. and even Nina is busy in this!
Then there is Timo who, even if in fact he does nothing with his winch and a rope always in hand,

he is convinced that he can do more than anyone !!!

It is forbidden to be bored!

Everyone's fear is that children can get bored. After overcoming the obstacle "but what if he / she ends up in the sea?", After realising that you eat and sleep on the boat, the inevitable question arises: what do you do on a boat all day? We assume that boredom is not always a negative note, a little healthy boredom has never hurt anyone and then we know that creativity comes from there. When I see my children "with their heads in the clouds" I don't think they are bored but I know that from that moment, which seems to be empty, some brilliant idea, some new story or some thought will soon spring up that is making them grow.

What do we do on board?

Keeping babies busy is very simple... as long as they are babies!
First of all, they sleep a lot during the day, so just put them comfortable and in the shade and the rocking does the rest. When you wake up you invent everything, toys everywhere, exploring the boat crawling like worms, the inflatable swimming pool and much more…
And anyway you don't live all day on the boat, you also go ashore !!!

ANIMALS Just roll your eyes 360 ° and you can see a pod of dolphins leap into the water. You might look out from a dock and see a slow-moving sea turtle strolling around you. Or you can rise from the bottom with a starfish…

DIVE The diving competition is undoubtedly a timeless classic on a boat, but diving from a fender thrown into the air or jumping from the top of the dolphin strike are many other variations that children always like when they are a boat.

DRESSINGS The highlight on the boat is undoubtedly the game of dressings. Fighting, saving princesses and landing on treasure island is a game that is very exciting at home, even better with a real boat at your disposal.

What else can I do on board?
We always have the toy bag available, with our Legos, pots, dolls, but often, I find my children organising dance-singing-acting shows to perform in the evening on the deck, complete with paid tickets...then there are cards, board games, chess.
Sometimes they design the biggest yacht in the world...or they build boats or swings with the recycled material found on the beach, other times they just have to invent stories with their favorite

puppet or they have fun with tattoos...and if you're tired of all this a little yoga never hurts.

...anyway with all this work to do, there is always time for a healthy page of homework!!!!


The combination of "Technology - Children" is always a very sensitive topic, even in a "normal home", not just on a boat. We have always wondered: with all the beautiful things they can do, do they really need technology on board? Yes, technology is very useful. For example, when Iago was 1 year old and we were not yet super experts in mooring, leaving him the mobile phone in that period of time that was needed to keep him busy allowed us not to have the anxiety of having to keep an eye on him and take care in the meantime. also of other things. Later we struggled with whether to put the TV on the boat or not and in the end we decided for the YES. Growing up the children have changed habits and needs, past the post-meal nap period and to keep them away from the heat of the central hours, we have found nothing wrong in showing them a cartoon. The time of a cartoon allows them to have fun and us adults to enjoy some well-deserved peace ... and then a little time on the tablet for long cruises doesn't hurt anyone! Fortunately, ours have never been technology-addicted children, but without a doubt a bit of technology on a boat never hurts. Like all things when used wisely, they are not just negative. When do we go ashore?

Going ashore is a need and a pleasure for everyone, young and old. Not only do you go ashore to refuel your pantry and maybe stop in some tavern for a dinner. We go ashore because it is nice to be in the sea but it is equally nice to explore and visit the places where we land. Above all, you arrive in places where access is impossible from the ground, and sometimes you even have really special encounters!

One day we go ashore, to play with a bucket, spade and rackets or build a raft with friends, we go ashore to visit a city, or an archaeological site.
Some places must be explored because they are mysterious and uninhabited, others are old ruins of churches or beached wrecks.
Sometimes we use abandoned boats as a playground.
Then there are caves, volcanoes, salt pans, pumice stone dunes, natural hot springs, waterfalls in the woods, village festivals..
One beach is black and the other red, one has fine white sand, the other tinges with pink, one is made of huge stones, the other that looks like breadcrumbs.
Every day is a discovery and every day children enrich their suitcase with memories.

On the boat, however, it is not always "all roses and flowers", there are rules to be respected with regard to the boat, nature, others and oneself.
In addition to having a strong spirit of adaptation, we must also be patient, because nature decides everything, we must be versatile and ready to change programs.
We have the list of rules that children have drawn up after spending several years on the boat, every mistake on the boat can ruin a good moment, so punishments are around the corner!

...and then the captain is always right, otherwise you end up being fed to the sharks!

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