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Sailing and Watersports Summer Camps for your Kids

7 June 2023

Learning to sail, windsurf or canoe is a great accomplishment kids will love at summer camp. It gets them out in the elements learning to power through the waves under their own steam or harness the wind. It will give them confidence on the water and a great sense of achievement. At watersports camp they may get the chance to fish, swim, and have barbecues on beaches or on islands. They will learn skills from enthusiastic professional instructors in safety that they can apply to everyday life. These will stay with them for life.

Sailing Courses

Sailing courses start with the basics. From age 8 children can learn simple rigging, points of sail, manoeuvres, safety and recovery. Follow-up courses teach further skills. Some of the lessons take place on shore before the hands-on experience which instils the learning and is so exciting. Some dinghies require a wetsuit and life jackets are worn. There will be man overboard and capsize drills.

Being the skipper of a boat or handling it solo is a huge accomplishment for a kid. They steer it, turn it about, harness the wind and dock the boat. They learn that they must take care of it and keep it in good order to get the most out of it and keep themselves safe. They are responsible for keeping the equipment in good condition so that it functions correctly. They need to obey instructions quickly and without question.

Windsurfing courses

A basic wind-surfing course will teach tacking, gybing, sailing around a triangular course, understanding the wind and returning to the start point. Wetsuits are required for windsurfing but are usually available from the provider.


Kayaking can take place on rivers, lakes and the sea with a range of techniques to learn on each. Kids learn capsize drills and rescue techniques, white water techniques, and journeying by river or sea. Once the basic paddling techniques are mastered they can go exploring.

A combination camp might include sailing, kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding and raft-building. All engender a respect for the water and how to keep safe whilst having an adventure.

At a residential course, there will be on-shore activities and team games, like crabbing or boat building. The kids might sail to a remote beach for a picnic lunch. Children learn spatial awareness when learning to manoeuvre watercraft. They learn how to make turns, speed up and slow down to negotiate obstacles. This is helpful in other areas for instance when they learn to drive.

Top Sailing and Watersports Summer Camps for Kids

PGL Aqua Explorer

Available at a range of locations, this is a great residential option for kids aged 11-16 who want to try multiple water sports during their week. Activities include kayaking, sailing, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing and inflatable obstacle courses. 

UKSA Summer Camps, Isle of Wight

Children aged 8-15 can experience a range of activities over five days, including sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, archery and orienteering in the beautiful surrounds of the Isle of Wight. Those aged 12-15 can choose the residential option. 

Rye Watersports 

Based on a lake near the picturesque beach at Camber Sands in East Sussex, a range of courses are available for kids in windsurfing and sailing, plus two-day camps for 7-13 year olds where they can have fun while gaining confidence on the water.

Cardiff Bay Yacht Club

Summer camps are available in Cardiff for children aged 8-16 in sailing, tailored to beginners, intermediate and advanced learners. The courses work towards the RYA Stage qualifications, while children have fun and make new friends.

Photo by Adam McCoid on Unsplash

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