Voyaging With Kids


“Sell the house, buy a sailboat, see the world: simple, right? Except for, gulp, your family. Well, few things worthwhile in life are ever easy, but in the smart, authoritative, inspirational Voyaging With Kids, the case is made that such lofty dreams of sailing over the horizon aren’t only imaginable, they’re attainable. From purchasing the vessel, to homeschooling, to safety and seamanship, this informative, well-written guide, sprinkled with personal success stories from cruising sailors who made the break, covers every base an adventuresome clan needs to set sail for distant shores. The only question that will ultimately remain is: Why didn’t we do this sooner?”

– Herb McCormick, editor of Cruising World magazine


“For far too long there has been a gaping hole in the cruising bookshelf — a comprehensive resource on taking your children along. Voyaging With Kids more than ably fills that hole by sharing the hard-won lessons from the book’s three authors, all of whom have done it, and by drawing on the experiences of other cruising parents and cruising kids. Voyaging With Kids guides you through every aspect of managing family life afloat and addresses, among other topics, homeschooling, passagemaking, health concerns, and childproofing the boat. Whether you’re on a powerboat or a sailboat, whether you’re a parent or a grandparent, whether the kids will be coming along for a few weeks or for a few years — Voyaging With Kids will give you the tools you need to make the experience everything you dream it will be for you and for your children.”

Beth Leonard, author of The Voyager’s Handbook


“I was just blown away by the wealth of information that it contains. And not just for those who are planning to cruise with kids! I love that it’s a collaboration, as there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to most of the choices that have to be made in going cruising. They authors don’t always take the same approach.. And they don’t try to sugarcoat the tough spots . . . but instead, give ideas of how to successfully deal with them.”

-Carolyn Shearlock, founder of www.theboatgalley.com (read the full review here)


“Voyaging With Kids is a beautifully designed and very comprehensive reference on cruising with kids. This is destined to be a bestseller in the sailing books category…the parenting bible for the cruising family.”

-Daria Blackwell, CoastalBoating.net (read the full review here)


“This is the book that my wife and I wished existed when we were starting out. Voyaging With Kids does a wonderful job of providing authoritative answers to every question that parents face when they dream of taking their families cruising. It will help you make the leap from ‘wouldn’t it be nice?’ to ‘this is great!’.”

– Mike Litzow, author of South From Alaska: Sailing to Australia with a baby for crew (read the full review here)


“Passion, resilience, perseverance, humility are just some of the words you can learn when at school. Or you can give your child (and yourselves!) the most amazing education this planet can provide. Taking a child long-distance sailing requires another useful word: planning; Voyaging With Kids delivers with this comprehensive guide. Take the plunge and we will see you out there.”

– Phillip Ross, editor of Cruising Helmsman (Australia)


“The best thing parents can do for their children these days is to unplug them from society and give them a wider and deeper perspective of the world and more meaningful way to experience the life as they grow. The best way to remove them from the bad influence of today’s tasteless movies, violent video games, and shallow peers is to take your kids cruising.

As more parents are doing exactly that, a brand-new book on the subject tells how. Voyaging With Kids: A guide to family life afloat was written jointly by a trio of sailors who have made this choice. Their collaboration is being supported by Lin Pardey who is publishing the book and has watched many cruising kids grow into extraordinary people over the years since she and Larry first threw off the docklines.

Authors Behan Gifford, Sara Dawn Johnson, and Michael Robertson each represent one half of a cruising couple that has been out there voyaging with their children for several years. They address the issues of breaking away from land-based commitments, dealing with the naysayers, and helping children make the transition. They talk about choosing a family cruising boat, safety afloat for kids of all ages, staying healthy, and provisioning for a family aboard. They specifically address issues surrounding cruising with infants and — at the other end of the spectrum — cruising with teenagers.

They also discuss how families spend their days aboard (with chores, holidays, home schooling, and great playtime) as well as relationships aboard and those they develop with other cruisers and cruising families. Just as important as transitioning to life afloat, they also cover preparing for the end of a voyage and re-entry into the hyper-society they have left behind.

My favorite part of this book is the essays by former cruising kids, those who spent several years afloat. We often wonder what has become of them. Did they get a proper education? Did they grow up properly socialized? Do they look back fondly on their cruising years? Yes. Yes. And yes. While some, once grown, have planted the anchor firmly inland, many have continued to sail or cruise as adults on their own boats. They are exceptional adults in every sense of the word and a tribute to the idea of family cruising.

This is a gorgeous book with additional interviews with and input from many other cruising families. If you know of a sailing family with the dream of cruising, buy them the book and then watch their children blossom — far from the maddening crowd — into very capable, independent, and special people.”

– Karen Larson, editor of Good Old Boat magazine


Synopsis: Choosing a boat that is right for your family; handling the naysayers; keeping your children safe, healthy and entertained afloat, “Voyaging With Kids: A guide to family life afloat” is an inspirational and comprehensive guide and is just what is needed to turn a family’s dream into a reality. The collaborative work of Behan Gifford, Sara Dawn Johnson, Michael Robertson, three authors who have each voyaged thousands of miles with children on board, provide a factual and balanced look at the realities of family life on the sea. Drawing from their own experience and with information from interviews with dozens of other voyaging parents, they discuss caring for an infant on board, handling the changing needs of children as they grow, education options, ensuring parents find the private time to keep their relationships in tune, and helping children make the eventual transition back to shore life. Added to the authors’ voices are sidebars from other cruising parents with specialized information on subjects as diverse as handling special diets and how your children can keep in touch with friends around the world. A unique bonus chapter, written by a dozen former cruising kids looks at the long-term effects of breaking away from shore side normalcy. A substantial appendix of resources provides valuable further information on the subjects covered in “Voyaging With Kids”.

Critique: Comprehensive, practical, definitive, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, “Voyaging With Kids: A guide to family life afloat” is enthusiastically recommended for family and community library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that “Voyaging With Kids” is also available in a Kindle edition ($25.52).

– Midwest Book Reviews