Would it bother you if your 8 - 10 year old none sailor was put on the sea in a sailing boat with no adult in boat?

(47 Posts)
ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 00:06:52

Recently came back from a holiday, kids club also did water activities but was gearing up according to brochure for complete beginners, she has sen and i even checked this was ok for her to join in I told yes.

Anyway we had a couple of prior issues but mostly ok, dd had done wobble boarding and windsurfing and they had been in the swimming area in a shallow bit roped off surrounded by nannies and very safe with lots of instruction of how to use it. As the other activities had been done so safely I was not worried.

When they were taken onto the water three of them were put into a Pica boat and asked if they could sail, in the way children do one of the eight year olds said yes and so they were sent on the sea with no adult in the boat, this was in kids club so I wasn't there.

Within minutes they had span the boat round and capsized, not an issue and part of the fun of learning to sail. However several minutes later they went back out again and part of the sail which had not been fastened on properly by the adults had fell off meaning the children were stranded with no sail. They were hit by another boat of children (my daughter was hit in the face) the children were rescued by the rescue boat from the water (two of them crying) and taken back to shore.

I was made to feel that my expectations of adult in a boat on the sea (rather than a lake where i would not been as concerned) were too much. I ended up attending kids club with dd for rest of week because of the other issues too but am now wondering if I should have said more in feedback.

Where in the world is this? That would affect how I feel about it.

BlackBorderBinLiner Sat 24-Aug-13 00:11:27

YABU If not duffers they'll be fine....

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 00:12:10

It was a Greek Island but a UK owned and run resort if that makes a difference. All staff, nannies etc were British.

SavoyCabbage Sat 24-Aug-13 00:12:22

Depends on the capabilities of the other child. My dd is going sailing with her friend soon. She is nine and he is eleven. She can't sail but he really can.

Ok, so warm non tidal water. And British trained staff and presumably RYA accredited. Fine in my book, the collision was unfortunate but Picos are basically plastic bumper cars on the sea.

Rough water, strong tides, and non-British approaches to health and safety would make it not fine for me.

Hope it hasn't out her off, sailing is a awesome sport that age!

TigerSwallowTail Sat 24-Aug-13 00:15:47

I wouldn't be comfortable with it if there were no adults on the boat.

BrokenSunglasses Sat 24-Aug-13 00:16:37

With it being a British led facility, I would expect their safety standards to be as good as they are in the UK, even without it being required because if local laws.

I can't imagine exactly the type of boat that they were on, so I'd find out if those type of sailing boats were used here, and if so, what their typical safety standards are when it comes to teaching children.

curlew Sat 24-Aug-13 00:16:41

No. I have sailing children and I wouldn't be happy with this. And I am of the "if not duffers won't drown"school of though.

One competent sailor with one beginner would be OK- but the competent sailor would have to have demonstrated competence.

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 00:16:51

Fully prepared to be unreasonable, its hard with her sen to level off to expectations of a NT child her age.

When we came back we attending a fun day in UK and children were taken on the river in a same type boat but not allowed to go alone and they were quite suprised.

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 00:23:22

Only one of the children had been sailing before with mum and never controlled boat herself. she was 8 and thought she could do it.

Water was quite choppy and beach/water had been closed to all including experienced adults that morning. I had only let her go because I presumed they would have an adult in boat.

my dd was hit hard in face by another boat of kids and got into difficulty in the water.

CatsAndTheirPizza Sat 24-Aug-13 00:28:10

No way would I allow it.

LittleBearPad Sat 24-Aug-13 00:31:44

Seems a bit crap for the staff to take the word of a child that they actually do know what they are doing
I assume they had life jackets

curlew Sat 24-Aug-13 00:32:07

I would not be happy with that- and as I said I am very gung ho!

My 12 year old is a very competent sailor and I would be happy with him taking a beginner out on the sea. But only because I know he is a sensible and calm sailor who's good at explaining things.

On a lake so long as there's a rescue boat you can do more "just hop in and have a go- see what happens". But even then, I don't think I'd put three in a boat. And a child with sen- I think I'd definitely send her out with an older child or an adult first.(Sea Scout leader talking!)

recall Sat 24-Aug-13 00:35:42

Blackborderbinliner they didn't mean to go to sea…wink

Lazyjaney Sat 24-Aug-13 00:37:39

Water was quite choppy and beach/water had been closed to all including experienced adults that morning

Because of weather or to keep other boats out the way?

Greek sea-shore is safer than any UK lake IMO. If your DD can swim I'd be fine, if not she shouldn't be out without an adult on the boat.

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 00:44:08

It had been shut in the morning due to weather. This was afternoon, dd can swim but not strongly on her front because of her sen. She's ok on her back and confident in water.

I had specifically asked if I should keep her away for that reason and been told no she could do it.

Like I said the other watersports had been done in a cornered off swimming area of sea roped off and had been so safe so I had no reason to think this would be any different.

BlackBorderBinLiner Sat 24-Aug-13 01:13:39

[Grin] Never had problems with the Coot Club on our Winter Holiday

Sconset Sat 24-Aug-13 02:32:36


Lazyjaney Sat 24-Aug-13 08:10:21

I ended up attending kids club with dd for rest of week because of the other issues too

I missed this. All is clear now.

Smoorikins Sat 24-Aug-13 08:28:50

My son did sailing lessons, from about age 10. Same boat, no adults in the boat - but two rescue boats out and about.

They all had lifejackets on.

There was some hi jinx, deliberate overturning etc, but he loved it.

I wouldn't expect there to be an adult per small boat. It would cost a fortune, and it sounds like they had safety covered.

Vatta Sat 24-Aug-13 08:38:10

It's normal to only have chikdren in picos, they're very small training/fun boats really.

However I wouldn't expect them to leave the children in one without checking first that they know how to sail (you can't take an 8 year old's word for it!).

In your shoes I'd complain in writing, it doesn't sound like this session was run well and the resort needs to fix the problem.

PGRated Sat 24-Aug-13 08:47:12

Junior cadets in the sea cadets use to be put in sailing boats alone with safety boats nearby and some parents weren't comfortable with it but they were ok and always shown what to do first (even if they had already been on the water).

However in your situation they should of been showing the kiddies what to do first! so YANBU

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 08:49:25

"I ended up attending kids club with dd for rest of week because of the other issues too

I missed this. All is clear now"

What do you mean Lazyjaney?
if you mean I am overprotective let me say that dd has additional needs (asd, dyspraxia, language difficulty) she refused to go back to any activities not in kids club room because it freaked her out. I didn't want her to miss out so I asked what to do and was told to attend. I basically sat nearby not interfering and there were none parent holiday makers sat in same place.

Floatsyourboat Sat 24-Aug-13 08:51:06

As long as they had life jackets and a rescue boat then I don't see a problem. It's unfortunate that your daughter got hit in the face but that's sailing for you! My brother has a huge sailing yacht and I can't sail and have been hit in the head loads of times by wayward ropes and sails and not to mention the boom which always seems to go for me. My husband even got caught in the face by a metal cable and took off half the skin on his forehead and cheek. I don't know why we go on it sometimes but we have had some lovely weekends away on her this summer and there's nothing better than sailing around the coast and sunbathing on deck.

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 08:56:01

And as I said I was willing to be unreasonable because its hard for me to judge what's "normal" for her age.

I thought it was definately me until we got back and two different places (sea cadets and a sailing taster) both said they would not have put 8 year old beginner on sea without instruction or an adult.

LIZS Sat 24-Aug-13 08:57:13

Presumably they were accompanied if staff on hand to assist , so that is normal ime. ds is under 16 but qualified to take beginners out. I would have expected them to have asked the adults about their sailing experience and swimming competency first though.

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 09:26:51

There was a rescue boat on the water for all the sea users as adults out too.

There was the "jump in and follow me " sailing instructor who took two regulars children who were very used to sailing with them in her boat and set off (without actually telling children HOW to follow her. She just shot off.

Then a nanny who was still on land who then went in boat with one of oldest and strongest swimmers in group who could also sail already .

PGRated Sat 24-Aug-13 09:33:26

If they had no instruction I would of said something! I've seen some very experienced sailors (in the sea cadets) get injured on the water due to the wind changing so I'm not sure that could be avoided but they should of been told that it could happen and told how to follow the sailing instructor.

cory Sat 24-Aug-13 09:36:20

Depends on all sorts of things.

When we holiday in Sweden (sheltered inlet, no strong currents), the usual family method is to send non-sailing child out with slightly older sailing cousin in v. small dinghy. This is the only way it can be taught as the dinghy is really on the small side to accommodate an adult. But then we are dealing with known factors: non-sailing child is used to water, sailing child is known to actually be able to sail (and has had capsizing training).

When I did a sailing course as a pre-teen (also in Sweden) we were sent out 3 children/boat. But that was after several hours of intensive theory designed to ensure that we understood what would actually happen if you turned the tiller this way or that. And the minimum requirement to get on the course was that you could swim 200 metres.

What you describe sounds less convincing and I wouldn't be happy with the sloppy way of ascertaining children's actual competence: they should have asked an adult.

Though to be fair I would never judge the safety of a Mediterranean (or Scandinavian) programme from what people would do in (notoriously unsafe) British waters- very, very different.

LIZS Sat 24-Aug-13 09:45:15

Sorry but it still sounds perfectly normal for a sailing session. The more competent children may have needed more hands-on input and to demonstrate skills to the instructor for the next level certificate. Sailing is a practical activity that you learn through trial and error, as long as safety procedures were followed then I suspect you aren't being realistic about the nature of the sport. dc have learned on a manmade lake and done same , also been to Lake Garda and was same. ds has been hit by the boom and it wasn't due to being unfastened that is simply an occupational hazard. Very unfortunate that your dd didn't cope well and may have been put off though.

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 09:59:49

Liz don't be sorry in asking because I had no experience and my judgement has been shaded by other experiences with them.

As I said I put it down to one of those things.

They werent shown anything at all though so I wouldn't call it a sailing session, they were shown how to stead on use boom. Just sat in boat and sent. Hence child who "knew how to do it all" span it round in a big circle and capsized it all on top of them first time. One child panicked and refused to go out, dd struggled and had to be pulled out but that's just sailing. We have a cracking picture of her over nannies shoulder fireman lift style dripping wet which photographer took.

They were sent out again then.

I'm asking because whether it was normal or not would determine if she went back in kids club next time.

cory Sat 24-Aug-13 10:10:13

Ime normal would be to make sure either that one child/boat does know how to sail or to explain the principles of sailing to the whole group.

Sailing is indeed a hands-on experience, like horse-riding or bike-riding, but you wouldn't put somebody on a horse without explaining the basic stuff about how to use the reins and your legs to guide the horse.

Minimum explanations for sailing should include:

how do I see where the wind is blowing from?

what are the sheets for and how do I work them?

which way does the boat go if I turn the tiller this way?

how do I keep at the best angle from the wind to ensure that the boat keeps moving?

what happens if I move too close to the wind?

what happens if I move too far away from the wind?

The explanations should also include the information that capsizing is a fairly normal event in a small boat (like falling off a horse) and instructions as to what you do when it happens.

curlew Sat 24-Aug-13 10:20:12

There doesn't need to be an adult per boat, obviously, but 3 beginner 8 year olds in a Pico- I wouldn't do that.

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 10:22:25

Should say weren't shown how to steer or use boom.

LIZS Sat 24-Aug-13 10:31:20

Did you watch the session ? Sounds like they may have been mislead by the child saying they had sailed before (and sometimes parents can exaggerate this too) but perhaps the activity leader should have reacted to the problems in their boat. How long did they last ?

AugustaCarp Sat 24-Aug-13 10:35:19

Oh god, don't say it's Lemnos...going on Saturday...!

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 10:49:02

I only saw end bit, my friend and mum saw the first bit.

They lasted minutes, I was on my way down to kayak , basically they were sent out still in shallower bit span boat round fast capsized , came back in , dd was brought in because she was getting tired swimming and didn't realise she could stand up! Sent back out again sail fell off , other boat hit them hard, all in water again rescue boat sent for them. Two were crying, not dd, all refused to go out again.

I guess it just suprised me because they had so much instruction from other stuff before going out and bobbed about in shallow bit with staff holding on or with them in kayak.

Smoorikins Sat 24-Aug-13 10:49:31

Oh, from your op it sounded like they were given instruction prior to getting in the boats. I take it that bit was purely referring to other activities? It wasn't clear.

I'm dine with the no adult thing, but there needed to be clear guidance in advance of getting in the water.

Smoorikins Sat 24-Aug-13 10:50:31

Fine, not dine!

LIZS Sat 24-Aug-13 10:55:54

so realistically they may not have even got into a position to have any instruction ? If dd had already been windsurfing etc how come she didn't realise it was shallow enough to stand?

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 10:56:10

I suppose also other people had said how well children with sn were catered for and in some cases given a one to one support and in fact we saw a child in older group being looked after amazingly I probably expected too much.

We had already had an issue and I do think it clouded my judgement on rest of holiday.

Rooners Sat 24-Aug-13 10:58:45

Based on the OP, no, I'd be horrified.

Lazyjaney Sat 24-Aug-13 11:01:39

We've been doing Med sailing holidays with kids clubs for years. Sticking 3 kids in Picos is bog standard, they sail just off the beach in shallow, warm, clear non tidal water, its like being in a big swimming pool.

They all have lifejackets on. There will be an instructor on one boat and a rescue boat hovering. They are typically given some instructions before they go out. The instructor leads them around a tiny course right near the shore like duckilngs, shouting at them to do what she does. It is totally safe.

Totally different scenario to putting kids in cold tidal UK sea waters. I wouldn't do that either at 8 with no sailing ability.

The boats capsize, occasionally boats hit each other but they are totally depowered and really are just plastic dodgems, and the kids have a blast. It is truly messing about on boats, the occasional collision is all part of it.

LIZS Sat 24-Aug-13 11:01:50

Had you told the leader of that activity about her SN. btw ds is dyspraxic and loves sailing, it has been really good for his upper body strength and coordination and is social.

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 11:02:12

Possibly Liz I don't know.
Because they had windsurfed in another area which was cordoned off and she has sn, they were much further out and she just panicked as the boat had landed over them so her instinct was to swim.

ourlittlestreet Sat 24-Aug-13 11:06:17

Yes I had filled in the form AND told the head nanny and group nanny verbally including how it would affect her relation to activity.

I also checked each time in relation to each activity in a dd can't do this, this and this is she ok to join in x or should I keep her away today.

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