Kid Sailing

5 Reasons Why All Kids Should Sail

There might be nothing in the world that packs as many life lessons as the activity of sailing. It teaches teamwork, engineering, history, patience, oceanography, ecology…all in one fell swoop. Because of this, we believe every kid should learn to sail and here’s the top five reasons why. Feel free to add your own.

  1. Balance
    This day and age it’s extremely important to create balance between the natural world and the computer world. For those over 30 it isn’t such a reality (although many would argue that) but “digital natives” truly need to unplug and sailing is perfect for that.
  1. Work Ethic
    Yelling at kids to rake the leaves or clean their rooms is something that needs to happen but it’s a bit of a bummer for everyone involved. Sailing is such a great way to teach work/reward lessons in an instantaneous way. It illustrates clear meaning and association for issues like organization 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.
  1. Bonding
    With electronic communication dominating the worlds of young people, the possibilities of bonding are thinning. It’s become a cliché that kids are always “in their screens,” but it is true. Every moment they are staring into this odd electric tunnel is a moment they are not connecting with the space that immediately surrounds them. This is another area where sailing can come to the rescue. 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, time to know each other better. Just don’t yell at them, that ruins everything…
  1. Systems
    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.
  1. Adventure
    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. Every kid 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 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… and it’s a place where a child can stretch his or her imagination. And that is a very good thing.
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Mike Marchev

Great article. I love these thoughts but I think you might have left off one more, perhaps the most important in my mind. CONFIDENCE. Knowing you can get from point a to point b using your skill and knowledge of how the wind can serve you well will help the youth accomplish difficult assignments as they move through life. If it were up to me, I would make “sailing” a core requirement. You don’t have to sail. You must know how to sail. Those are my feelings. Thanks for the article. Mike Marchev


We brought up 5 boys aboard a ketch, and each had their own sailing dinghy. They’ve grown up with a wonderful perspective on life and are now teaching their own kids to sail. Here in NZ there’s a huge emphasis on sailing for both recreation and sport.

Dave Makielski

Great reminder of how valuable a learning experience sailing is to our youth. Timely too. We are instituting a learn-to-sail youth program at our sailing club on Eagle Lake in Edwardsburg, MI this coming summer.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a sailing family and I treasure that upbringing. Unfortunately the life I knew as a child is not as common now though it is still available and just as valuable.

Pat Burns
I completely agree with you, Mike Marchev that CONFIDENCE is one of the greatest things to be learned from sailing. Kids, from very young to teens, can gain tremendous self-confidence by learning to sail. I began sailing at age 13 with Sunfish class boats in Key West. Being able to single-hand a small boat gave me confidence to try other things. Now, at 65, I can’t wait to introduce our 10 year old grandson to Sailing. He’s a great kid and has almost zero confidence in himself. Can’t wait to see him blossom as he learns this great sport, and… Read more »
Chris Campbell
The best reason is your No. 1, “adventure,” which I might call “independence.” We’re required to be self-reliant when we go sailing. We don’t have gills, so it’s a dangerous environment for humans. We must fend for ourselves. We can’t call 911. We must be capable of operating our vessels safely. And yes, there’s that wonderful sense that each time we go sailing, we could keep on going and sail anywhere in the world with a shoreline. Even here in the Great Lakes, I can sail down Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, then out the St Lawrence Seaway and… Read more »

Do you have an introductory sailing course for kids between the ages of 8-11? If so, how can I obtain the information about the course?

Ed Haddad

Problem solving and self reliance as well


NIce article and perfectly written..