Boat trips with Toddlers/not intended to offend, please!
I hope you don't mind what I am about to say but I really feel compelled to make a comment but I am not trying to offend anyone. Rather I am just trying to give another perspective on taking toddlers on a boat.
Our family has grown up on the water and the issue of boats/boating and toddlers have always been an interesting topic. Our feeling about toddlers and boats is this, while a toddler can sit in a boat with a properly fitted and certified life jacket (not likely in Aruba) the issue is more of what happens in case of a boating accident. We waited until our children were around the age of 3 where they were old enough to understand our directions and had some swimming experience. Of course if a boat flipped there would be panic but a toddler can not understand what you are saying to him nor can they swim well enough and have the knowledge to keep their head up. I think you understand my point?
While our children were growing up I spent many hours on shore with my toddler while dh and older kids went out in the boat. The few moments of my fun would not be worth it if something happened. I know its rare but just to put it in perspective, remember a few years ago when the Jolly Pirate flipped? It is rare but it can happen.
Actually, when I read about the Jolly Pirate accident a few years ago, I did think about this very issue. From my spot on the beach I watch daily all the families who go on boats and many bring with them toddlers. When I heard the news of the Jolly Pirate's scary accident and that no one was hurt, injured or worse it made me think about what would have happened if a toddler had been on board. I am not picking on the Jolly Pirate as we have gone on this boat numerous times and they are a fantastic company but this is what is current. It wasn't anything negligent but it was a fluky thing that happened.
All I am saying is that in my experience with toddlers and boats, I would recommend that you wait until your child is a swimmer and understands commands better and BRING A LIFE JACKET FROM HOME TOO!
I'm glad you posted this. We were on the Jolly Pirates last week and were surprised to see a couple of little ones (under 5?). I thought I had heard they had an age requirement. Anyway, when we got to the first stop, the ship wreck, it was a little choppy. The dad was forcing the young boy into the water. One of the pirates suggested it wasn't a good idea, but the dad kept telling the boy he could do it. He had those swimmy things on his arms. Luckily they finally gave up forcing him in the water. I did see him at one of the calmer stops later in the water. This is not fun for anyone, the young boy, the dad or the other people on the boat.
I was surprised to hear of the Jolly Pirate flip - had never heard that before - but glad to hear it was a fluke. I have sailed with them 3 times now and have found them to be outstanding.
They (JP) are outstanding. It happened in July a few years ago and it was something to do with a wind gust from a strong storm many miles out, if memory serves.
With regards to the floaty things, we used to bring with us youth life jackets as in Aruba it is hard to find kids flotation devices. The kids swam in the ocean with them too. It was great as they had far more independence in the ocean and I could swim with them but also with less of a worry.
JOLLY PIRATES INTACT. Just as the experts predicted the Jolly Pirates is up, intact, and heading to a shipyard in Punto Fijo, Venezuela for her annual primping and conditioning. Tim Duncan an international underwater ship maintenance specialist, headquartered in Curacao operating under the name Miami Diver, Inc., sent over giant air bags which were strategically placed under the capsized schooner. Then the pumping began, air in/ water out. By Friday afternoon, the Jolly Pirates, a 70-ton giant was out of the water, leaning on a sand bank across from Playa Linda Beach Resort where she was gently towed to after her unfortunate voyage. Then at 8 p.m., at favorable tide, the Search & Rescue team showed up as well as every local ‘big-ship’ expert including Pelican Watersport’s Martine Molina, Tranquillo Captain Anthony Hagedoorn, Atlantis Team, Parasail boat Captain Rich, and Captain Sander Vellinga, they joined owner Captain Harald Buser and they worked until 5 a.m. filling airbags which they placed not just under the boat but also in the lower cabins which raised the Jolly Pirates considerably, then they carefully turned the bow (front) in the right direction and brought her in, into more shallow waters. Jets were gushing out, as the Jolly Pirates emerged from submersion. Out she popped, decks dry, masts, boom, sails and most importantly her name, on the large sign, all intact. Just amazing, but true! The team got to see Captain Anthony’s nephews, Angela’s sons, third-generation of sea-wolves swinging off the rope-swing! Then the men had beer, naturally, and Captain Ron climbed the mast and hung the skull and crossbones flag in place. Order was restored. All is well in the world again. As you recall, midday Tuesday, July 10th, Aruba was surprised by strong guests of wind which unfortunately hit the sails of the Jolly Pirates a few minutes away from its home pier at Moomba Beach. The boat was just returning from a successful snorkeling trip with 39 people on board, 4 of them crew members including the Dutch Marine trained, owner Captain Harald. The gusts, measured at the airport at 46 knots, were stronger on the open water, Harald states, they filled the sails and capsized the schooner in a matter of seconds. Another boat would have been crushed to pieces, but the Jolly Pirate just swiftly overturned, deposition all of its passengers and its content in the water, across Moomba Beach, a few minute away from home base. Carla Cavallaro, Harald’s wife reports the life jackets came bobbing up as soon as the deck where they are stashed filled with water and the crew of excellent swimmers were able to help those in the water. Luckily the boat was not full, there were no children on board, no senior pirates. Passengers were all swimmers and held their own until help arrived. Best of all, within seconds, the area filled with every water craft available, every single boat and jetski showed up in urgency, hailing from every local water sports company. “They are my beach heroes,” says Carla, “they did not know whose boat it was, and they showed up, in a matter of seconds.” Carla heard about strong gusts and a capsized big boat when she was getting a trip ready to leave at the Oranjestad cruise ship terminal. She cancelled the bookings and raced back to Palm Beach, the wind almost knocked her out of her car, she says, as she arrived at Moomba Beach not knowing the Jolly Pirates was in trouble, yet all along trying to reach Harald on his phone, but to no avail. When she pulled into Moomba, passengers were getting off dive boats on the pier, and all she could do was hug and kiss every single one of them, all over. Moomba was fantastic, she explains, just doing its utmost for the passengers and serving as improvised rescue headquartered. Having delivered all pirates to dry land and having accounted for them all, the crew started collecting flip flops and beach bags from the overturned ship, returning lost belongings to their owners. One passport got wet and damaged, but the American consul who happened to be in the area arranged to replace AND deliver the document within 24 hours. Otherwise Carla reports, there were no injuries, no losses, it couldn’t have happened to a stronger ship. It couldn’t have happened to a better crew. Some of the pirates came back the following day for a trip on the Jolly Pirate’s sister ship, ”they did not want to ever be afraid of sailing,” explains Carla, “and we invited them all to return with open arms.” It was a fluke, states Aruba’s meteorological service. Harald who looks at the weather all the time, was not the only captain taken by surprise. Luckily, the gusts affected just one and not a series of crafts, and everyone involved agrees, this could have had more adverse consequences. The crew reacted well, and the ship held up, true to its sterling reputation. Incidentally, Tim Duncan whose company Miami Divers Inc. operates out of Spanish waters in Curacao, has been servicing the marine community since his company’s inception in 1976. Miami Diver specializes in underwater ship maintenance and also lived up to its sterling reputation. Sail Jolly Pirates II, the sister ship is working, offering the famed fun experience to pirates of all ages. Jolly Pirates I will be back soon, all gorgeous and brand new, it was scheduled for a month vacation in the shipyard and it is taking it . . .
i will add my 2cents in about kids on a boat...and it involves family members...
We had always done as a family event the Palm Pleasure 100 ft catamaran.
We went with 25 people the last time we went, including 2 yr olds to 60 yr olds.
The boat went out to the lighthouse, and the water was very rocky, white caps etc.
Needless to say I was freaking out. The boat sits like 10 feet off the water and the water was coming up on deck and into the netted area where all the kids ( 10 of them) were sitting. I was so scared, along with the other folks that we went in and sat down inside the covered area. It was a poor judgement call of the boat operators to go out in the mess and put the families in harms way. I can still feel the fear in my veins from that ride.
Hence, bring your own life vests, and watch the water action to see if its calm.
Let me also say that it was our 7th ride with them, 5 with all the families and relatives, and 2 sunset with adults only. Beautiful boat, nice rides in the past, just not sure we'll go again with them.