Escape from modern day life, switch off the screens and get active outdoors, as hundreds of venues across the UK offer free or low cost opportunities to try sailing and windsurfing this May.

The family friendly ‘RYA Push the Boat Out’ (PTBO) open days offer something for everyone, with a variety of both on-the-water and shore-side activities, as well as BBQs and entertainment for the kids. And with more and more of us looking to lead an active and healthy lifestyle, this could be the new outdoor activity you’ve been looking for.

As well as positively impacting physical and mental health, outdoor activities like sailing and windsurfing have also been shown to aid character development in young people. The broader benefits include; independence, creativity, teamwork, determination, communication and confidence; providing youngsters with the attributes to help them succeed in life.

But is it for me? PTBO events are your chance to find out! Have a go in a welcoming, safe and low-pressure environment - no experience or equipment necessary -come along and give it a try!

Friendly, affordable and inclusive

“Sailing is the perfect activity for the whole family to be involved in,” says mum of three, Alice. The Turrell family have thrown themselves into life at their local club following a PTBO open day in 2018, with kids Leo (13), Max (10) and Eve (8) all enjoying life on the water.

Best of all, having all three taking part in the same activity, at the same place has given Alice and husband, Bob, time to relax sitting in the fresh air at a lovely location and watching their children thrive.

Alice commented: “The children loved the open day and were on the water until pack up time. It was fantastic to see how confident they were, how much fun they were having and importantly how members of the club used such positive and supportive language, which grew the children’s confidence and gave them the want to learn more.

“We stayed involved because it's fun, the children absolutely love it and the club is perfect for us as a family; friendly, affordable and very inclusive. We were recently there for five hours one Saturday and Leo didn’t give his Xbox a second thought, so it must have been good! Max just loves being outside, so sailing fits perfectly for him, and Eve wants to do everything the same as her older brothers. We were amazed at her stamina and strength.

“The club is a hidden gem. I've lived nearby for 49 years and didn’t even realise it was there right under my nose! It's truly an idyllic location and now I've found it we are so excited about being part of it all. I'm telling everyone about it and all the chances to try sailing coming up!"

An investment in family time

The Czura family went along to an open day at their local sailing club in 2017, after mum, Lucy, saw a banner inviting newcomers to ‘come and learn to sail’ whilst out walking their dog.

Dad Peter, had sailed when he was younger, but the family had always assumed it would be too difficult and too expensive to join a sailing club. They went along with their three boys (aged 8, 10 and 14), who took to sailing like ducks to water, and have since become active members of the kids’ Saturday morning club.

Lucy and Peter have also become fully integrated members, with Lucy volunteering in the kids’ club and Peter completing his RYA Powerboat Level 2 qualification and providing safety boat cover. Both parents have learnt to sail through training put on by the club and have achieved their RYA Dinghy Level 2 qualifications.

Lucy commented: “Joining the club and learning to sail has been an investment in our family time. Nearly everything else we do is as individuals and this is something we can all do together.

“For the boys it’s been amazing, they get so much independence out on the water and the character benefits are huge. They are learning so many things and developing skills that are really going to benefit them in all walks of life.

“Push the Boat Out is an opportunity to try a new activity without any pressure or financial commitment, I’d definitely recommend other families come along and give it a go.”

Try sailing in May

The RYA’s Push the Boat Out (PTBO) campaign returns this May, with more than 390 venues across the UK offering free or low cost, sailing and windsurfing taster sessions.

The national participation campaign aims to get more people on-the-water, having fun and getting active outdoors. All ages and abilities are welcome, with opportunities for children, families, beginners and lapsed sailors, as well as those with disabilities or special requirements for getting out on-the-water.

Last year, more than 39,000 people across the UK attended a PTBO open day, inspiring thousands of new sailors to join their local club.

Find out more about the RYA Push the Boat Out campaign and events near you at www.rya.org.uk/ptbo.