5 Reasons Every Child Should Sail from the ASA – Sail+Leisure
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5 Reasons Every Child Should Sail

by Ingrid Hale
5 reasons

Sailing is more than just a sport and anyone who has joined the community will tell you that there is no activity more jam-packed with life lessons. It teaches teamwork, engineering, history, patience, oceanography and ecology all while you get to have fun and enjoy the outdoors. We agree that every child should learn to sail; here are a few reasons:

Balance – not just your sea legs

This day and age it’s extremely important to create balance between the natural world and the computer world. For those over 40 this isn’t such a reality (although many would argue that) but “digital natives” truly need to unplug, and sailing is perfect for that. Get the kids outside and hooked on being on the water and they won’t look back.

Work ethic

Getting your kids to rake the leaves or clean their rooms are things that need to happen, but it’s a bit of a bummer for everyone involved. Sailing teaches work/reward lessons in an instantaneous way. It illustrates clear meaning and association for issues like organisation and cleanliness. There is hard physical work to be had while sailing but it is a work that is gratifying and immediately shows its purpose, which is what short-attention-span kids can use. It also all happens with a great view. Boat maintenance and care also teaches patience and care for your possessions, something that can easily translate into cleaning up behind themselves!

Bonding and community

With electronic communication dominating the world of young people, ‘in person’ interactions are starting to dwindle. But there is no place where conversation, laughter and shared silence happens so easily as on a lazy daysail. A family working together to make a boat efficiently bound over the waves is nothing short of nourishing. There is time. Time to teach, time to joke and time to know each other better. As they grow it will become a happy space for you and for them. The sailing community is vast and international, but being a part of something so simultaneously unique and diverse will encourage forward thinking and open mindedness. Having a community to belong to can certainly create a sense of confidence and achievement in any one.


This world is full of systems and seeing one as masterfully designed as a sailboat is valuable. Centuries of trial and error have gone into what’s aboard most modern sailboats and they are living breathing examples of incredible innovations all working in an intricate system that creates travel from a wind source. Reminding kids that this thing is kind of unbelievable might broaden their curiosity and encourage them to look at other systems and become better critical thinkers – how can they take something that seemingly works well and make it even better.


Instilling a sense of adventure in a young person is an important seed to plant. Sailboats are safe, but they are also a ticket to the wild unknown. Anyone who’s ever sailed into an empty horizon has looked out and thought, “What if we kept going? Where would we end up?” Sailing takes us away from the normal and plants us firmly in an environment unfamiliar and foreign. Outside of the boat we can’t even stand up in this deep blue world – we are essentially helpless. There is nature all around us that lives in a place we can’t even breathe. It’s mind-blowing when you stop and think of it… it’s a place where a child can stretch their imagination. And that is a very good thing.

Sailing creates a self awareness and sense of community larger than the actual act of setting sail. A sport that has so many lessons will help shape a young mind and create a sense of adventure and mindfulness to their surroundings. Every kid should learn how to sail, because let’s face it… Sailors are just the best kind of friends.

[5 Reasons Every Child Should Sail according to the American Sailing Association]

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