Sailing with Kids
If you had a fun experience on the water as a kid, chances are you remember it relatively well. In fact, if you ask a room full of adults to take a moment and think about the most enjoyable and memorable moment of their childhood, most of them will report having thought of experiences outside. And of those who had access to natural bodies of water, most will report having thought of experience on or near the water. “We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken.” This is what marine biologist, Wallace J. Nichols, writes in his new book, Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do. This is may be a long title for a book. However, it is the perfect description of what neuroscience is now saying about water and the human brain. Being around water causes particular physiological responses that literally makes us less stressed and more happy.
As a father of two young boys less than 10 years old, I am constantly reminded of how my brother and I chronically tortured our own parents in a similar fashion. What is it they say about Karma? However, as soon as we arrive at the dock to go sailing, they are transformed into peaceful little angels. Well, okay, maybe not angels. But they are calmer, more resilient, more thoughtful, in a word, happier.
The photo was taken in December 2014. It was just the four of us out on a Catalina 27. You can see the Golden Gate in the background looking through Raccoon Strait with Angel Island just there on the left. That is my three year old in the picture (he’s four now) along with his “dude” lying on the cockpit’s starboard bench. It looks as if he has fallen asleep against the lifelines and stern pulpit. I think the camera snapped as he blinked. However, he has been staring out at the water for at least twenty minutes. Until he had a complete meltdown at the end of the day, he demonstrated an unusual inner peace. He was a young saltwater buddha1.
If you have young children of your own or are in a position to positively influence young children, think about sailing as an option. This blog will included future posts about children and sailing. I look forward to posting one about all of the educational opportunities sailing provides in the greater Bay Area. So please check back. In the mean time, take a look at Delta’s options for sailing here: https://www.deltasailingschool.com/sailing-club/.
Safety is always the number one priority when sailing and being anywhere near water. When children are involved, there are additional safety considerations that must be taken into account. For example, when they leave the relative safety of the cockpit to go forward on the bow, they should be harnessed and tethered to jack lines. However, you can safely take your children sailing out on the bay. And the benefit to them is well worth the extra effort you put into their safety. In fact, it can be more cost-effective than many other “day-trip” type activities in the Bay Area. Check out https://www.deltasailingschool.com/sailing-club/.
1 2009. Yogis, Jaimal. Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to find Zen on the Sea