Your guide to toddler sailing and watersports

Youngsters can take to the high seas (or local pond) with many clubs and classes available


Many youngsters get their first experience of sailing through family members who already sail dinghies or keelboats. Others find a way into the sport through RYA recognised sailing clubs or training centres, which offer courses for all abilities. Many also run junior and youth clubs to help youngsters stay keen and progress with their sailing.


Holidays which include sailing clubs and lessons can also provide a great introduction to the sport or an opportunity to develop skills further, while as the same time providing a great way for all the family to have fun together. 

Traditional summer regatta weeks are also well worth considering as there is usually a special effort to involve children with dedicated racing, prizes, games and socials.

Whatever kind of sailing you are doing, the most important factor to remember in encouraging children into sailing is the fun factor.

Ask many youngsters about their favourite sailing activities, and aside from enjoying racing their friends and taking part in events, you will find that capsizing, water fights, pirate treasure hunts and sailing picnics feature high on their wish list!

Children don’t tend to approach sports like grown-ups – they like to win or do well but their mission in life is also to be with their mates and have a laugh!

Check out the OnBoard programme, too. OnBoard is about getting more children and young people learning to sail and windsurf.


Some local councils, such as Thames Young Mariners in Surrey, also offer outdoor activity weeks on water during the holidays.

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