Empower Your Child’s Adventure on the River Itchen!

From Young Sailor to Master of the Water!

Our Youth Sailing Programme is designed for young, aspiring sailors eager to master the art of sailing. As an RYA-certified Training Centre, we ensure top-notch instruction, unparalleled safety and equipment specifically tailored for our sailors. Young people can embark on their sailing journey today and discover the thrill of the River Itchen!

“In every sail, a lesson. In every breeze, a chance to grow.” – Active Nation

Start Your Child’s Sailing Success from Stage 1 to Mastery

Our RYA youth sailing courses provide an excellent opportunity for children to develop their sailing skills on the water. Under the guidance of our experienced instructors and aligned with RYA (Royal Yachting Association) standards, we create a fun, engaging and educational environment where children can begin sailing with Stage 1 and progress through Stages 2, 3 and 4.

Throughout the sessions, our friendly instructors are on hand to answer questions, offer valuable tips and help young sailors master the waters!

Young people can step onboard, open to anyone aged 8-16, with no prior experience necessary. There’s no need for personal equipment, just your swimming costumes and an old pair of trainers. 


Completing Stage 1 will give me a basic understanding of how a boat sails and some experience of steering and handling.

– Can put a buoyancy aid on without help

– Assist with rigging and launching

– Tie a Figure of Eight knot and clear a halyard

– Be able to sail across the wind


Completing Stage 2 will give me a range of sailing skills and background knowledge and help me become a confident sailor!

– Be able to rig a boat

– Can tack around

– Stop the boat and control the speed

– Improved sailing skills on all points of sail

– Ropework and Collision avoidance

– Understand what the No Go Zone is!


Completing Stage 3 will help me rig my own boat, gain skills to sail in any direction and I will no longer be a beginner!

– Use The Five Essentials to help sail

– Racing is fun! Can start to race round a course with friends

– Man overboard! Be able to recover my crew if they fall out

– Together we can work out whether it’s good to go sailing or stay inside

– Windward, leeward, bear away… I know the meaning of them all!


Completing Stage 4 teaches me how to sail a double-handed boat so I can sail with my friend. It will also let me go on to take the advanced modules!

– Can correctly rig and set up my own boat

– Test my knots: Figure of Eight, Reef, Bowline and Rolling Hitch

– Learnt to sail a double-handler as crew and helm

– Know all about the boat controls

– Are now a theory wiz! Have learnt all about synoptic charts, tides and flow

The RYA Youth Sailing Scheme provides an enjoyable and progressive way to learn and sail. Each certificated course provides an opportunity to recognise your achievements.


Following completion of Stage 4, you can further develop your skills through the five Advanced Modules. You may choose any module according to the area of sailing that interests you. Additionally, there are further race-training courses available to help you improve your performance at club-racing level. Happy sailing!

Seamanship Skills

Seamanship skills will help you learn skills a short step beyond Stage 4. During this course you will polish and test your skills and learn to resolve problems afloat. The course will give you a solid foundation for the future and enable you to become much more confident and self-sufficient afloat.

Sailing with Spinnakers

A short but fun and thrilling syllabus which probably packs the most enjoyment out of all the RYA courses. Everything you need to know to enjoy modern, three-sail boats.

Day Sailing

If you sail at a coastal location you can explore the local sailing area, as well as developing your passage-planning and decision-making skills to go on a day sail or short journey. Basic pilotage and dealing with windy conditions are also covered. 

Performance Sailing

Improve your boat handling and confidence in performance boats. This is an opportunity to be coached, practice your helming and crewing and work on a smooth, fluent sailing performance with or without the spinnaker. 

Start Racing

The first course is the racing syllabus, Start Racing, which will develop and provide you with the basic skills needed to enter a race and understand the simple techniques, sequences and rules. To take this course every student should have mastered the practical skills to Level 2/Stage 3 or above. 



Our courses are led by friendly, passionate and qualified RYA Instructors – some might say some of the best in the industry.

We also offer courses suitable for adults, children, groups and those with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities – anybody can learn new skills.


All specialist kit is provided – including Buoyancy aids and lifejackets.

We have a selection of sailing dinghy’s, keelboats and accessible access dinghy’s available so that everybody can get afloat.


Our city-centre location means that SWAC is accessible from all major transport routes. Southampton also offers a host of affordable accommodation within walking distance of the Centre.

Our sailing areas allow us to deliver a variety of courses and include the River Itchen, Southampton Water and The Solent.


We’re powered by a cause-led charity and are on a mission to inspire the nation to improve their health and well-being.

When you buy a course from us, or undertake your next training at SWAC, you’re allowing us to offer water-based activities to local communities who otherwise, may not have had the chance.

For details on our RYA courses and to find the right one for you, please contact us.

We’re here to assist you!