A busy pontoon with boats moored alongside, people being hoisted into  boats, people in wheelchairs waiting to get into boats, and general excitement about going sailing.

Sailability National Conference

Re-connect, re-build: bringing the Sailability community together to learn, refresh skills, motivate each other for the season ahead so we can rebuild Sailability activity in 2022.

A single day event on Saturday 12th February starting at 1000 and finishing at 1645 at Wybston Lakes, with online alternatives if you can't make it on the day.

Booking is now closed.

The conference will be the launch of 6 masterclasses on:

  • Marketing and promotion - the #MoreThanSailing campaign
  • Disability Awareness Instructor Course
  • Funding and partnerships
  • Safe moving of people - train the trainer course
  • Sailability Safety Officer of the Day course
  • Volunteering recruitment and management


Each masterclass is a deep dive into a topic and comes with ongoing support. They start at the conference but continue online or face to face in the weeks after and they may include:

  • Sessions at the conference
  • Further sessions face to face or online
  • 1:1 support and follow up
  • Networking opportunities with others on the masterclass to reflect on what you have learned, the challenges you have faced and your successes.

We are very conscious we are organising an event in a time of ongoing uncertainty because of the pandemic and we know some people still won't feel able to attend, so booking for the online alternative is now open.


1000 Sailability - rebuilding regular activity

1100 Masterclass sessions 

1230 Lunch

1330 Masterclass sessions continued

1630 Closing words

1645 End


Disability Awareness Instructor Course

Become a Disability Awareness Instructor for the RYA so you can build awareness and confidence amongst staff and volunteers at your club / centre and further afield. You need to have the ability to deliver training to groups and have knowledge of the RYA Disability Awareness Course. Anyone can be instructor, and we are really keen to increase the number of disabled people in the role.


Follow up and networking sessions with other instructors will take place after the conference.


The online alternative starts on Wed Feb 16th at 6pm, and continues on the 17th at the same time.

Funding and partnerships

Build confidence and skills in fundraising and developing partnerships with local community organisations so you can reach new audiences and get the support you need. The masterclass will be delivered by Sported, who provide expertise, resources and operational support to community groups. A mixture of group sessions, 1:1 support and follow up, and the chance to network with other clubs and centres exploring the topic.

The online version will take place on Wed 9th March, with two sessions, one at 3pm, and one at 6pm.

Manual handling - train the trainer

A bespoke three day course delivered by Acorn Health and Safety covering the theory and practice of safe people handling. By the end you can train the people at your club and centre who use a hoist and other people moving and handling equipment. Day 1 of the course will be at the conference and will cover guidance on practice, bio mechanics and back care, safety systems of of work, the principles of safe handling, and legislation. The Online alternative will be on Wed 23rd February, starting at 0930. Day 2 and 3 will be practical, at venues to be be confirmed, but delivered twice, on March 15th and 16th in the South, and April 25th and 26th in the North.

Day 1

  • Reference materials & using research
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Guidance on Practice
  • Bio-mechanics and back care
  • Ergonomics & safe systems of work
  • Principles of safe handling
  • Unacceptable practice
  • Background to legislation
  • Legislation relating to moving and handling


Day 2

  • Tissue viability, communication
  • Facilitating independent movement
  • Assist to stand and transfer
  • Assist to transfer different techniques ie, transfer board
  • Assist to walk and sit
  • The falling client/managing the fallen client
  • Introduction to hoisting and sling selection
  • Sling fitting and hoisting
  • Sling fitting and hoisting continued


Day 3

  • Written assessment
  • Revisit all practical skills, teaching to peers
  • Preparation for practical skills assessment
  • Practical skills assessment
  • Feedback on practical skills
  • The way forward

Marketing and promotion

A chance to focus on telling the story of your club and centre, and the people who are part of it so you can engage with more volunteers, get more support, or reach new sailors using social, digital, face to face communication skills, and the resources behind the #MoreThanSailing campaign.

Included is a an audit of your social media and website, along with the training to implement the recommendations, a chance to develop a communication plan, a 90sec promo video, and networking with other clubs and centres also looking to improve their marketing and communications.

The online alternative will start on Wed 2nd March at 3.30pm

Sailability Session Lead Course

A new course that offers a chance to explore a framework for leading a Sailability session, good practice, and common issues you have to manage. 4 and a 1/2 hours of learning.


The course will cover

  • Key roles and responsibilities
  • Pre-session planning, contingency planning
  • Managing risk and decision making
  • Safety issues specific to disabled people sailing
  • Managing on the water session with confidence
  • Dealing with serious incidents


Online alternatives: Wed 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th March all starting at 3.30pm


Volunteers: re-engage and recruit

Build your skills and confidence in ensuring your volunteers have a great experience and more people get involved


Explore key steps in re-engaging your volunteers, ensure you have a programme in place to reskill people, and develop a recruitment plan to get more people volunteering with you.


Online alternatives: Tuesday 1st, 8th, and 22nd march, all starting at 6pm

Covid measures

We are very conscious we are organising an event during a pandemic. If you don't want to attend a face to face event, we will be providing an online alternative to the content and will open up booking to this in the New Year.

In the event that the face to face element of the conference is postponed or cancelled or the RYA deem it is unsafe to run the event in the light of UK Government guidelines regarding Covid-19, you will be contacted and informed about the online alternatives.

For the face to face element we are taking a number of steps to ensure your safety:

  • The event will be run in line with Government guidance in place at the time and we will continue to monitor guidance and regulations coming from the Government and Public Health Authorities
  • We have chosen a venue that have implemented a number of safety measures including enhanced cleaning and sanitising schedules; a thermal imaging camera in reception that will take the temperature of everyone who arrives (anyone showing a high temperature of 38 and over will not be permitted into the venue); and hand sanitiser throughout the venue. To find out more follow this link
  • Will will monitor and adhere to Wyboston's policies and measures to keep you safe
  • Our team will be asked to complete lateral flow tests before travelling to the event, and will not attend if they test positive or show Covid symptoms.
  • We have designed the programme to limit the number of contacts you will have during the day
  • We have set capacity in each of the masterclasses to allow social distancing and will work with the venue to ensure good ventilation throughout

We will ask participants to:

  • take a lateral flow test before travelling, and to not attend if they test positive or display any new symptoms of coronavirus or have been asked to self isolate
  • wear a face covering when inside the building and using public areas (you won't be asked to wear a face covering in the restaurant, bar and meeting rooms)


Sailability's annual conference is supported by Gallagher