Children Lying Down On A Towel On A Yacht

Yachting with Children

Tips from BAHS Senior Placement Specialist Kate Hooper

Kate Hooper

After traveling the world as a nanny for 17 years, Kate is now playing matchmaker between candidates and clients as a senior recruiter at BAHS. As a nanny, Kate traveled extensively including spending time on a working dairy farm in the English countryside, a remote cabin in the Minnesota woods, and extended time on a yacht in the Caribbean. Traveling with children is her passion and she especially loves the creativity needed to entertain children on the go. From day trips to extended travel, lakes to oceans, she is most comfortable in the water and hopes you’ll consider bring your children along for your next at sea adventure!

Tips for a Smooth Sail

1. Make a list of what you’ll need on board and then communicate with the Chief Stew ahead of time and ask for photos of any gear they already have on board (high chairs, portable cribs, etc.) to minimize overlap and reduce what you need to bring. For younger children, bring your own

Kate And Nanny Kid Next To Waterfall

life jackets, car seats, and safety items to ensure the right fit

2.  Bring toys that work for multiple ages, do not take up a lot of space, and can be used on land or at sea. For example, small vehicles and Way to Play roadsnesting cups, and Safari Toob animals and figures.

3. Pack non-WiFi video monitors for children’s rooms as an added safety measure

4. Go over boat rules BEFORE your trip. Practice playing red light green light and singing the “walking walking” song so younger children are already comfortable with directions they’ll hear onboard from crew.

5. Pack familiar snacks and foods from home (including for you!) and ask to confirm menu items with the chef in advance. You can add items to your preference sheet but there is no guarantee that an international location will have items your child prefers. Packing a few extras from home will help in a pinch and be comforting for the children when they are in a new environment .

6. HAVE FUN! Be flexible with schedules but keep the routines your children know from home.

Kate’s Top 5 Activity Ideas

1. “Painting” with water: hand out brushes of different sizes and a few small containers of water and let the children “paint” the deck

2. Treasure hunt or scavenger hunt, have children team up with a member of the crew for assistance and safety

3. Themed nights: space, under the sea, pirates are easy to throw together

4. Cooking class and pizza night with Chef

5. Water Olympics: this is easy to adapt depending on the ages of the kids and how competitive you want to get

Q and A with Kate Hooper

What is your favorite part of being in the water?

I truly think of boats/yachts/ships, whatever the size, as a floating classroom. There is SO much for children to learn through these experiences. I highly recommend finding some books or YouTube videos about the native sea creatures you may see on your travels and the history of any ports you may visit.

What is the longest you have been on board a yacht? What challenges did you face?

Child Building A Fort In Yacht

30 nights straight! I think the biggest challenge is entertaining children on board when there is bad weather as you will truly have to stay inside for safety reasons. This is a great time to do a fort building competition, have the kids make their own movie that you record, or set up an indoor obstacle course.

What has been your favorite destination so far?

St. Lucia or Mustique were both so beautiful. My nanny kid and I loved the botanical garden in St. Lucia and visiting the playground in Mustique. In the Mediterranean, I love Monaco.

What are your top 5 essentials to bring for kids onto a boat?

Sun hats with a strap/tie for windy days, a makeup brush to to apply sunscreen, water shoes that dry quickly, child-friendly remedies for motion sickness, a couple of old toy catalogs or magazines that can be cut up to be used for crafting on a rainy day.

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