How Do I Choose The Right Size Boat For Family Sailing?

Smooth Sailing Ahead: Choosing the Perfect Boat Size for Family Sailing Adventures

Sailing with family can be a memorable and rewarding experience, providing quality time together and opportunities for adventure on the water. When considering a boat for family sailing, choosing the right size is crucial to ensure comfort, safety, and enjoyment for everyone on board. In this article, we will explore essential factors to consider when selecting the appropriate size boat for family sailing, helping you make an informed decision that meets your family’s needs and preferences.

1. Determine the Number of Family Members

The first step in choosing the right size boat is to determine the number of family members who will be joining you on most sailing trips. Consider whether you’ll frequently sail with immediate family only or if extended family and friends will also be on board.

2. Assess the Boat’s Accommodation Capacity

Once you have the number of family members in mind, look for boats with sufficient accommodation capacity. The boat should have enough berths (sleeping spaces) and seating areas for everyone to be comfortable during overnight trips or extended stays on board.

3. Consider the Boat’s Length

The length of the boat is a critical factor in determining its size. Longer boats generally offer more interior space and stability, making them ideal for family sailing. However, they may also require more experienced handling, so consider the skipper’s proficiency when choosing the boat’s length.

4. Evaluate the Deck Space

Ample deck space is essential for family sailing, providing room for children to move around safely and enjoy various activities. Look for boats with spacious and uncluttered decks, making it easier for everyone to move around while underway.

5. Check Cabin Headroom

Comfort is vital during extended sailing trips. Check the cabin headroom to ensure that adults can stand upright comfortably inside the boat’s cabin. A comfortable cabin allows for ease of movement and contributes to an enjoyable experience on board.

6. Examine Storage Space

Family sailing often involves carrying more gear and supplies, especially when sailing with children. Check for sufficient storage space on the boat to stow personal belongings, safety equipment, and provisions for the entire family.

7. Assess Safety Features

Safety is paramount when sailing with family. Look for boats with features like high guardrails, secure lifelines, and easily accessible safety equipment. Boats with a well-protected cockpit area are especially beneficial when sailing with children.

8. Consider Ease of Handling

Choose a boat that is easy to handle and sail, especially if you have less experienced sailors or young crew members. Features like roller furling sails, self-tailing winches, and a well-designed cockpit layout can make sailing more manageable for the entire family.

9. Evaluate Budget and Maintenance Costs

Sailing is an investment, and it’s essential to consider both the initial purchase cost and ongoing maintenance expenses. Determine a budget that aligns with your family’s financial capacity and research boats that fit within that range.

10. Charter or Try Before You Buy

If you’re uncertain about the right boat size for your family, consider chartering different boats for short sailing trips. This allows you to experience various boat sizes and types, helping you make a more confident decision when it’s time to buy your own boat.


Choosing the right size boat for family sailing involves considering factors such as accommodation capacity, deck space, safety features, and ease of handling. By carefully evaluating your family’s needs and preferences, you can find a boat that provides a comfortable and enjoyable sailing experience for everyone on board. Remember to prioritize safety, comfort, and functionality to make the most of your family’s sailing adventures and create lasting memories on the water.


  1. Can I modify a boat’s interior to accommodate my family’s needs better? Some boats allow for interior modifications and customization. Consult with a boat expert or manufacturer to explore feasible options.
  2. Are there specific family-friendly boat models available? While there are boats marketed as family-friendly, it’s essential to assess each boat’s specific features and suitability for your family’s needs.
  3. What is the ideal boat size for a family of four? For a family of four, a boat in the 30-40 feet range generally provides sufficient accommodation space and comfortable sailing.
  4. Can children participate in sailing activities? Yes, sailing can be an enjoyable and educational activity for children, and they can be actively involved in various sailing tasks under proper supervision.
  5. Should I consider a catamaran for family sailing? Catamarans offer generous deck space and stable sailing, making them popular choices for family sailing. However, consider factors like budget and handling skills when choosing between a monohull and a catamaran.