Insight into family boating

Published on September 9th, 2022

Ross Brady had always loved the sea, and it was after his tour with the Royal Marines ended in 2015 that he thankfully found his calling. In this report, Brady offers how he is sharing it with others:

I met the dad of the family, Paul, whilst teaching him his Day Skipper course. Little did I know that this would lead to meeting the whole family plus Sonas the ship!

Having taken the brave steps of purchasing a Beneteau Oceanis 58 and saying goodbye to the drudgeries of everyday life, the Morris family and their two doggies embarked upon their sailing dream and I was lucky enough to be a tiny part of that.

They asked me to instruct and assist the family in getting to know their boat and ultimately help prepare them for their sea adventures.

Sailing by its very nature brings people together and makes them work as part of a team. When working with a family, it is that next level of ‘togetherness’. They are already a team; my role is just to support and help that group grow and become ship shape!

When teaching young people to sail, the rewards are endless. Watching this family of young souls grew in confidence as the week progressed makes every ounce of what I do worthwhile. Children absorb information surprisingly quicker than some adults and bring with it an enthusiasm that inspires and delights any onlooker, including me!

One of my big goals is to encourage the next generation to learn about the sea and sailing and make it an accessible opportunity for all. By engaging with families such as the Morris family it allows me to do that. With a mother and father leading by example in Sarah and Paul, these kids have every chance of learning about the world. Little screen time, fresh air and lots of jolly yarns were the measure of the day.

This family has had the courage to follow their hearts, sell up, and go for a globetrotting adventure. I admire their spirit, the courage and enjoyed every minute of sailing with them.

Ten top tips for teaching young people to sail:

• Be patient.
• Understand each child as an individual and teach according to their strengths. They will then naturally look to work on the things that challenge them to become a better sailor.
• Involve nature in your teaching. Look at what birds are surrounding the boat as you sail. Ask them if they recognize these birds, if not teach them. Look for insects in the sails that may be making a passage with you. By bringing nature in early to their sailing days, they will naturally learn to respect it, understand it whilst at sea and ultimately will want to protect it.
• Mix fun and learning. Encourage the children to ask questions and give real examples when these are asked and, of course, where possible. I often use my sailing mishaps as a way of teaching others what NOT TO DO.
• Prepare them that boat life brings with it change, that not everything goes as planned. Teach them to think on their feet.
• Give them regular breaks whilst teaching. Remember, these are young minds. Within these breaks remind them to keep hydrated at sea, it can be thirsty work on a boat.
• Encourage them to listen and observe others on the boat with them. Work as a team and be on hand to support if needed.
• Get stuck in. Boat life involves all tasks – cleaning the decks, hoisting the sails, cooking, keeping the ship tidy and taking it in turns to clean the heads!
• Slow and steady rather than speed. This will pay dividends when teaching them to park as they get older!
• ACCEPT that even if you, as an adult, love the ocean and sailing, your children may not. If they try it but it is not their thing, then at least they have given it a go. FAR too many times, it ends in tears when overbearing parents force their kids to sail and, as a result, the child never ventures near a boat again!
• SAFETY – the final point but probably the most important! BEFORE anything else, run through why we need to think SAFETY FIRST. Start with the lifejackets and why we wear these. HOW to use, then run through the rest of the boat. If we don’t think about safety FIRST and the safety of others on the boat, then we pack up and go back to shore!

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