Normalizing the view of family life afloat

11 Apr
Playing in the cockpit

Most of the time, the general public really has no view, or interest, in our very different way of living. The events on Rebel Heart have changed that temporarily, the center of a swirl of media attention. It’s given the uninformed,  hiding in the anonymity of the internet, the mistaken impression that their opinions are wanted or matter. Seeing the venom spewed at families who choose this life, it’s hard not to feel judged, and feel frustration that there’s so much misinformation!

It’s time to showcase the way cruising family life looks 99.9999999% of the time. Check out the #kidsonboats hashtag on Twitter, where people are sharing images of their kids, on boats, all over the world. Or this collaborative photo album of family cruisers that’s the brainstorm of mom Cindy, raising her kids afloat. There’s the awesome video soon-to-be-cruising mom Cidnie pulled together, families from our connected cruising world sharing more photos from around the globe.

Rallying around Rebel Heart, cruisers like Tamiko are taking the naysayers to task for the gross and inaccurate assumptions made Charlotte and family. After publishing a great article in Slate about their life afloat, cruising mom Diane waded through the comments and found a few good questions tucked among the absurd. So, she answered them.

Want to see super normal happy kids growing up- just, afloat? Look at the gorgeous photo essay Genevieve put together of her girls, who happen to be growing up aboard their boat in the Caribbean. Or, take a stroll through this a slideshow BabyCenter published a little over a week ago of our life, from early days as weekend sailors through the miles we’ve voyaged since. Or visit with Brittany, who is no stranger to dealing with those who question the decision to raise her little girl Isla (and soon, twins Haven and Mira) afloat, and has choice words for those who pass judgement. Or the yacht Momo, where Michelle ponders why people need to judge, and reflects on what she’s learned about risk while raising her daughters cruising.

These are the tribe of cruisers, of families afloat, of people who get it. Not jumping to conclusions. Knowing there’s a story to be told, and it’s for Charlotte and Eric to tell. And meanwhile, as we wait, to offer our support by trying to normalize a public view of family life afloat.

The Kaufmans have expressed profound thanks on their blog, and asked that donations be made to That Others May Live, an organization which provides relief to the families of members of the United States Air Force Rescue community when tragedy strikes.

bobbing off the stern
I’m always grateful when followers read this on the Sailfeed website.


  1. Joan Gaetz

    Hello, I am here to say Hurray for You, all of you! I am sad to hear that the uglies have intruded into your life. Such is the web as I am learning more and more. I wish I was younger (67) and had the courage to do what you are doing for your family. I look forward to following your adventure and figuring out if your latest post which I speed read means you are back on land.

  2. Emily


    Thank you so much for your thoughtful, link-filled post about cruising. I have been following you and Charlotte for about the same amount of time. The story of Rebel Heart’s unusual circumstances and the internet firestorm surrounding it has left me in a somber mood these past several days. However, I am grateful to see that this has yielded some positive fruits as more and more people are learning about normal cruising life. Sometimes I don’t care what anybody else thinks because I’m comfortable with our choices, whether we’re cruising or not. But it’s always nice to feel understood.

  3. Seven Cs

    So many people who are not sailors / cruisers assume they have things “right” and that they way they do it is “safe” so their kids will never be put into harms way. They assume that the cruising lifestyle is fraught with danger and anyone who goes cruising with their kids will never return, only to be lost at sea to some tragedy.
    In reality the opposite is often true as this news headline this morning shows so clearly:
    Another headline a couple days ago – 20 students injured by knife attack in school. If people look at the facts of the danger of the cruising lifestyle vs the “safe” lifestyle of violent video games and such as that, they may begin to see that cruising with kids as a lifestyle is in reality often safer than life on “land”.

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