Kids questions answeredUseful stuff - Parents, Teachers and Youth Leaders

What are the benefits of sailing as an outdoor activity?

Sailing and windsurfing provide a wide range of educational, personal and health benefits which enable young people to:
- Gain knowledge of fitness and health
- Personal/social development and build communication skills
- Select and apply skills, tactics and compositional ideas
- Evaluate and improve performance
- Learn how to manage risk and have adventures in the outdoors but in a safe environment
- Have great fun into the bargain!

What safety requirements do the sailing schools follow?

OB (OnBoard) sailing and windsurfing sessions take place at ‘OB Centres’. The OB Centres are training centres or sailing clubs which have received RYA recognition.

RYA recognition means that children will be taught by an RYA instructor or experienced skipper aboard a seaworthy, safe and, well-maintained and suitable craft. The courses that the children will follow are within the RYA’s proven National Training Schemes.

Each RYA recognised school is inspected annually to ensure that training craft and instructors meet the high standards of the RYA.

The RYA carries out spot inspections to ensure that the level of tuition and the condition of the equipment remains consistently high over time.

The RYA is responsible for administering the recognition system and ensuring standards of training are maintained.

All RYA recognised schools are required to produce a safety policy and operating procedures and to carry out a risk assessment. The RYA does not set safety rules in stone but rather provides guidelines for the recognised centres. This is because recognised training centres operate in a wide range of different conditions, with different hazards and levels of risk. The Principal of the Training Centre therefore carries out their own risk assessment to make sure that they are not subjecting instructors, staff or pupils to unacceptable risks.

The RYA provides guidelines on the risk assessment that follow HSE advice.

What will the kids learn?

Sessions are taught at local centres and clubs, by an RYA instructor, to a national syllabus; the RYA National Youth Sailing Scheme, which provides young people with continuity and progression.

What help can I expect to get from my local OB Development Officer?

Your local OB Development Officer (ODO) will help you to make all the logistical arrangements you need to get kids out on the water and can help you to address any LEA requirements including risk assessment. They can come into the school and show pupils either as part of a lesson or an assembly what sailing and windsurfing are all about. Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for you to add sailing and windsurfing to your school sports curriculum or extra curriculum.

Do we need to buy any special equipment or clothes?

If you send your kids on an OB session at your local OB Centre then the centre will provide all the boats, kit, and safety equipment. Depending on the training centre or club, all kids need to bring with them is a towel!

I would like to send a group of kids sailing. What do I need to do?

Just contact your local ODO – it’s as easy as that. See our OB Near U section.

Will anyone come and talk to the kids about sailing?

Yes – your local ODO can come into the school and show pupils what sailing and windsurfing are all about.

Where can kids go to get into sailing?

There are clubs and centres right across the country. Your local ODO can help to put kids and their families in touch with local sailing clubs and centres. Or, simply look up your nearest sailing club or centre on the RYA website. (

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