Sailing across Croatia with a baby or a toddler

Written by Marin @Danielis on April 04, 2017 in Yacht Charter Advice

Sailing with an infant might seem overwhelming at first. You may find yourself asking too many questions such as: Are there lifejacket sizes appropriate for a baby? Can toddlers use sunscreen? 

The important thing to keep in mind is the earlier you start sailing as a family, the easier it is. Handling a baby can be a challenge in its own right, so here we present you with an important thing to keep track off. So put down those magazines, do not spend countless hours scouring different blogs and forums, and keep these tips in mind for a memorable and smooth sailing experience with your infant.

1. Always make sure your toddler is safe – wear a lifejacket

Always make sure your toddler is safe wear a lifejacket

Lifejacket is an obvious choice in the face of the danger of drowning, but for it to fit comfortably the baby needs to weight at least 18 pounds, so it would be a good choice to wait till the toddler hits that mark before bringing it underway. Physical safety is of highest concern since infants do not have developed the sense of danger, so make sure to designate a safe area where the baby can sit and play without danger of slipping and hurting itself.
A car seat or a bouncer tightly secured to the mast or a safe area in a cockpit is the first choices to go. While the safest place a baby can be is its parent's hands, while in choppy waters it's good to have a front baby carrier which will give you the ability to go hands-free when you have to secure the boat.

Always make sure that one parent has its eyes on the baby at all times, since the biggest danger doesn't come in form of a baby falling overboard but in many other hazards the boat presents, such as hitting its head on many sharp protrusions, falling down the stars and others.

2. Other health concerns to keep in mind

The baby's skin is extremely sensitive to UV light, but sunscreen labels indicate that they are for infants six months and older. Shed no worry, there are plenty of other options to keep your baby safe while on board. A UV sunshade, sun-protective clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat will do wonders to keep your baby safe and sound when faced with the perils of a strong Sun. Also, since the water reflects most of the sunrays, to protect your infant's eyes, make sure that it wears quality baby sunglasses. These are all solutions that avoid chemical-heavy sunscreen.

Also, make sure that cabins are well ventilated by keeping the cabin windows open and even use small fans that will keep air moving down below. It is important that its temperature is well regulated since infants are unable to do it themselves. If you judge that the baby is in the danger of overheating, you can always use a small tub where the baby can cool in a nice cool bath.

3. Be extra vigilant when docking/anchoring

Sailing across Croatia with a baby or a toddler - safety on board

Hopefully, the docking will coincide with infant's sleeping time, since that is the time when both hands should be on deck and baby entertainment will not be possible. In the case the anchorage falls in the time where the toddler is at its fussiest, you could strap your infant in a car seat, but then you might be at risk of damaging your ears by the sonic damage emitted by small, but powerful lungs crying for attention.

To keep the baby entertained while you make sure the boat is safely docked, the best option might be going with a baby carrier, which will keep the baby happy, quiet and also safe.

4. Make sure the baby naps at regular intervals

As with other things in life, careful planning takes care of most of one's worries. Not also beneficial for baby's health (according to studies, as much as food and attention), regular napping will provide you with a short window of time for your hobbies such as snorkeling or with a well deserved resting time.

For providing your toddler with a comfortable place to sleep, a car seat, bouncer or an infant hammock will do wonders, so choose the option that you know your infant will appreciate the most. You might even go with a portable rocker which will also provide you with an excellent place to put down your baby whenever you have to be hands-free.

5. Make sure to keep your toddler entertained

Sailing across Croatia with a baby or a toddler - how to keep children entertained on board

While on a tour de Adriatic, finding mommy groups and play dates might seem challenging or near impossible, but toddlers will have no problem finding each other. It's almost as if they are programmed for finding other kids their age to play with, which just might be the case since playing help in brain development.

Keeping a baby entertained will not take a lot of effort on your part, bringing toys with you or providing our baby with attention will suffice for the most part. While on the beach, you can make do with the simplest of contraptions, a simple hermit crab gathering will be an adventure for your toddler, while a small bucket will provide your baby with the tools necessary to build his sand kingdom. Let your creativity shine.

While on terra firma, be flexible in your arrangements, if the weather proves to be too hot, take a simple stroll in the nearest shopping mall which is equipped with children playrooms and tons of toys, while you can take a nice stroll on the pier during the nice, cool evenings. On nice days, going to the beach will probably rank highest on your infant's to-do list, and will provide you with an opportunity to spend some quality time and enjoy as well.


For someone faced with the dilemma of bringing the toddler onboard, benefits outweigh the challenges. While it may take some extra energy on your part, providing your toddler with a new environment in which it may grow and prosper will be beneficial to its development, while spending time together will serve to make a stronger family bond