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What Age can my Children Learn to Sail?

27 December 2022

Many parents are curious about the sport of sailing and when is the best time to introduce their children to it. The answer, of course, depends on the child's individual abilities and level of development, both physically and mentally, and also their maturity and level-headedness. There are plenty of options for sailing programs geared toward different age groups, so parents can find the perfect fit for their children. So, whether you're just considering enrolling your child in sailing lessons or they've already started down that path, read on for more information.

Aged Six to Eight

Sailing courses in the UK start at between six and eight years of age and obviously the content of these will differ depending on which age they are predominantly aimed at. Courses for six to eight year olds tend to consist of shorter sessions with more basic information to bolster their water confidence and build some basic knowledge about sailing. This foundational knowledge can then be expanded upon as they get a little older. Being able to swim is a prerequisite so this will also be a factor in whether or not your child is ready to learn to sail at this young age. 

A lot of courses aimed at this younger age group focus on encouraging the kids to make new friends among their fellow learners as it can provide a good incentive to keep coming back. This also assists in holding their interest in what they are learning, as well as the obvious benefits of social interaction upon their development. 

Aged Eight Plus

The Royal Yachting Association, the governing body for sailing and many watersports in the UK, organises a large number of courses, many of which are suitable for children of different ages. The Start Yachting course is suitable for ages 8+ and includes steering a yacht, handling the sail and safety at sea, including dealing with a ‘man overboard’ scenario.

Aged Twelve Plus

The Competent Crew course gives more experienced children over 12 the necessary skills to be a crew member on a yacht. In order to earn a skipper qualification from the Royal Yachting Association and be in charge of a yacht in their own right, your children will need to be over the age of sixteen and have spent at least 5 days on a yacht as crew. 

So, what do you think? Are you ready to invest in some sailing lessons for your kiddo and hopefully watch as they take to it like a duck to water? It’s definitely something to consider, as the earlier children start learning things like sailing, the better and more skilled they tend to become. It is always a source of fun and pride to see children become proficient and confident in their abilities.

Photo by Mael BALLAND on Unsplash

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