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Getting more from RYA OnBoard

You probably already know that OnBoard is the RYA grassroots participation programme for junior sailors. But for those of you that are already OnBoard - are you making the most of it? And do you know what being OnBoard really means for your club? If you’re new to the concept, then don’t worry, it’s now easier than ever to get OnBoard…


OnBoard was relaunched in 2017 with a new focus on the broader learning benefits of sailing and windsurfing. It is open to anyone aged eight to 18 and the programme enables those taking part to experience all the excitement and relaxation that being on the water offers, whilst at the same time teaching them a wide range of invaluable life skills, from problem solving to leadership and teamwork.

Sessions are delivered through a network of clubs and centres across the UK and in its 13 years, OnBoard has introduced more than 800,000 youngsters to sailing and windsurfing.

Character attributes

Being on the water creates multiple situations where young people are challenged and tested, and OnBoard is a safe, fun environment where they can develop the character traits important for success in later life.

The RYA has been working with Professor Bill Lucas from the Real World Learning Centre to explore and identify the broader learning benefits that getting out on the water can bring.

Find out more about the six character attributes that sailing and windsurfing can help develop: creativity, teamwork, determination, communication, independence and confidence.


Of course this won’t be a new concept for most of us, for many years now we have known that sport and physical activity can have a beneficial effect on our health and mental well-being. However, research like this is key to energising parents and teachers and ultimately getting more young people out on the water sailing and windsurfing.

What do you get from being OnBoard?

All OnBoard clubs receive programme support from their RYA Regional Development Officer (RDO) and Sport Development Team, as well as advice on junior activities, club facilities and equipment. Further resources include:

  • New Instructor session cards
  • Promotional materials, freebies, OnBoard flag and t-shirts
  • Rash vests available for events
  • Regional OnBoard conference
  • Exclusive offers and discounts from leading sailing and windsurfing suppliers
  • Panerai Challenger Trophy – find out more

New resources

Earlier this year we launched a new set of resources for OnBoard clubs. Produced for teachers, parents and instructors, all the resources are linked to the six key character attributes and broader learning benefits.

More recently we have developed session cards to support sailing instructors in developing these character attributes in their sessions whilst also linking back to the National Curriculum. The cards have been designed to give even the most experienced instructors lots of great ideas for games, challenges, bad weather alternatives and interactive activities. Windsurfing session cards will be available soon.

Resource packs have now been sent out to all OnBoard clubs and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Taff Owens from the Pembrokeshire Performance Sailing Academy (PPSA) commented: “Just to let you know that the OnBoard pack arrived a couple of days ago. I must say I’m pretty impressed with it, so well done. I’ll be getting some frames for the posters soon to put them up around the centre”

Make sure you’re making the most of it! Learn more about the cards here.  If you haven't yet received your resources pack or aren't sure how to develop your OnBoard offer, please do get in touch. 

Get OnBoard

If you haven’t already, what are you waiting for? If you’re a Recognised Training Centre, run activities that introduce eight to 18-year-olds to sailing or windsurfing and provide a pathway to continue either with you or another local club you can be OnBoard and enjoy all the benefits.

Stay in touch

Make sure to sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter, ‘In Your Element’ and follow us on Instagram.

For more information about OnBoard visit

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