Parents! First time sailors!
You may be overwhelmed by the array of clothing the sailing world has to offer, but don't worry, we are here to help and with this guide you should be able to sort your little ones stress-free.
In reality, only four items are absolutely essential when you send your children to their first sailing course.
The wetsuit is essential as it will keep your little one warm while he/she is battling the elements . We recommend that you get a full length wetsuit, this will keep them warmer and protect their knees from the harshness of the deck.
The fit: The wetsuit should be snug.
Unfortunately, if the wetsuit is too big, it will let too much water in and it won't keep your child warm.
On the plus side, these have become quite inexpensive over the last couple of years:
This is their safety device. Hence, should be sized properly.
The weight of your child should be in between the weight range of each size of buoyancy aid. (For example: if your child is 42kg, he/she should get a 40 to 50Kg buoyancy aid).
Some places, like the Scouts, will ask that your child gets a lifejacket instead of a buoyancy aid. Make sure to clarify this before buying your child a flotation device.
There is a variety of names for what is virtually the same thing or close to. This garment is basically a windbreaker for over the wetsuit. These tops are essential as the wetsuit does not offer any protection against the wind.
If you've ever been at sea, you'll know that the lack of protection against the wind is the number one factor in getting cold. They are also critical in so far as they are a barrier between splashing water and the wetsuit, allowing children to remain warm for as long as possible out on the water.
Finally, you need to take care of your little one's feet with some neoprene booties. These act like the wetsuit and keep your children's feet nice and warm. As for the wetsuit, they should be snug but not so much that they get uncomfortable.
Once you have these and your little one has done their first course, you can think about getting the following:
- Sailing gloves (some sailors will feel the need for them, some other won't)
- Sunglasses. We didn't include these in our essential list but it probably deserves to be. The glare reflecting off the sea can be damaging to a young person's eyes which require protection.
- A Hat/Cap for the hot days and beanie for the colder ones. No need for something fancy but if you want a good one, you can get an Aquafleece beanie.
- Polypro Top and Bottom: Fleeced rashvests layer helping your children stay extra warm under their wetsuit. If your little one feels the cold badly this is a great add on to the wetsuit.
To conclude, you can add these accessories to the list:
- sailing bag
- sport bottle
- dry bag
WETSUIT TOP TIP