What is the best age for children?
Teenagers really enjoy sailing holidays. There's plenty they can join in as crew but there's still plenty of time to relax on deck with a book or i-pod. Teach them a few useful knots at the start of the holiday and delegate specific tasks so they know what their role is, eg when mooring up who's doing anchor, fenders, stern mooring lines? Get them involved in chart plotting, helming and setting the sails. Even a washing up rota seems more fun onboard a yacht! Take a friend along or join a flotilla if they want company.
Younger children love being onboard a yacht. Under 12s aren't much help as crew but they really enjoy all the activity of sailing along, going ashore in the dinghy and falling asleep in a cabin. Do take a life-jacket for under 8s - as well as wearing it on the yacht, they'll need it swimming off the yacht and in the dinghy.
Toddlers are the most difficult crew members. If possible invite another person, couple or family along so there is at least one adult who can be in charge of young children with no other crew jobs to distract them, especially coming in and out of harbour. Child netting can be fitted as an optional extra and will be attached along the side rails, but it does not fully enclose the deck area so cannot be considered an enclosed playpen.
Lifejackets are provided on all charter yachts. Check you have child / junior jackets before you leave the marina. Young children should wear a lifejacket at all times above deck and in the dinghy (especially at night!). For children under 8, we recommend taking their own lifejacket that you know fits and that he/she likes wearing.