Sailing with Kids in the BVI

Sailing with kids is a unique experience for the whole family, one you will remember for a lifetime

Children playing in the waterCharter vacations in the BVI are always an excellent and unique vacation choice for families. If you are considering a crewed charter for your family but have some reservations about sailing with kids, here are some helpful tips!

Selecting the Right Charter

First, you’ll want to select a charter that best suits your family’s specifications. You’ll want a crew that has experience working with children and will be able to help you make the most of your vacation. The type of vessel is also important. Many families prefer booking a catamaran as they typically have the largest living spaces and tend to rock back and forth as much as a motor yacht or sailing boat. Depending on the ages of your children, you’ll want to consider a charter that offers features such as baby gates, safety nets around the decks, and pocket doors on the stairwells. Cabin space and location on the boat is also important to consider, as you may want to select a charter that has options for you to have your kids close by. The final factor in selecting your charter is the available recreation activities available. Book a charter that has a lot of water toys and activities, plus life jackets and other gear specifically for children.

Detailed and Careful Planning

When sailing with kids, you’ll want to create a detailed plan / itinerary that takes several factors into consideration. First, you’ll want to create an itinerary that allows for shorter distances between sailing destinations, or scheduling small stops in between the major ports you’d like to visit. Make the children a part of that planning by telling them about the destination and having them select the activities or excursions that interest them. Prepare guides, charts and maps for them to learn more about the islands, the fish and wildlife, and points of interest. Second, set very clear safety rules that are reviewed before your charter and once you arrive, especially boat safety rules if they’ve never sailed before.


There are so many activities available for kids on charter vacations! A popular introduction is arranging for the Captain to show them how the boat works and allowing the kids to observe him/her in action. Some crews will set up extra special events for children, like a theme night or a treasure/scavenger hunt. Take full advantage of the water toys and sports available. Snorkeling is always a hit with kids, and if they haven’t snorkeled before, try to set up a lesson or two before leaving on your vacation. Once you’re on the boat, you can go over some charts and books about the fish, sea creatures and other underwater life they may be able to see. Inflatable and towable toys are always fun, as are kayaks and canoes. If you’re on a catamaran, the trampolines are a bonus. Have some waterproof cameras on hand for them to take lots of fun pictures. Plan excursions along the way that are fun and even educational, where the kids can experience the art, music, wildlife, culture and history. When not in the water or exploring one of the islands, take advantage of the charter’s entertainment options, like the movie library, video game systems, or board games.


Kids can be picky eaters, but having a chef on board to prepare custom dishes for everyone and not having to worry about meal preparation is great. The chefs can prepare kid-friendly meals, sometimes with a different theme for each day. And just because the kids want mac and cheese or chicken fingers, the adults can still enjoy gourmet meals. Many guests have also mentioned that the sense of adventure that comes with a charter vacations makes kids more bold and open to trying new dishes, especially at the BVI restaurants along the way.

To arrange your family’s yacht charter vacation in the BVI, and for recommendations on the boats that will best suit your requirements, contact our charter specialists.