With its many beaches and hidden waterways, Singapore is the ideal spot for messing about on a boat and learning how to sail. Pull up the topsail and haul away your anchors mama, it’s time for the little ones to get out on the water! Just don’t forget the life vest!
Changi Sailing Club
The Optimist Introductory Sailing Course is a thorough three-day programme that teaches youngsters the basics of safe sailing. With a minimum of four kids per class, make sure you’ve got your team ready before you sign up. Graduates of this course can enroll in the Youth Optimist Sailing programme for kids 7 to 14 years of age (members only we’re afraid!). Sessions are half days on Sunday mornings and your ducklings must be able to swim at least 50m without a personal floatation device to enroll.
The ancient sport of Dragonboating – racing traditional wooden paddleboats – is something to be seen as much as tried. Festive races traditionally cover a few hundred meters but at Sport On! Kids the emphasis is on fun and experience. This Singapore Sports Council scheme offers all kinds of fun dragonboating courses and events for youngsters, including a Fun Dragon Boat class that teaches the basics of this classic water sport. For 5 – 12 year olds, sessions are run on a first-come, first-served basis, so you’ll need to be there bright and early mama!
Many a children’s birthday party or beach fun day has been played out at Mana Mana Beach Club and lucky for us they also host numerous sailing classes and water sports programmes for kids! This well loved strip of beach on the East has a breezy sea side restaurant perfect for parents to sit and watch their little ones learn about life on the ocean, as they learn to sail, windsurf, kayak and paddle board.
SAF Yacht Club
Children 7 plus can join SAF Yacht Club’s signature Get Kids Afloat introductory sailing programme and learn the basics of sailing. Classes are based around the Singaporean school holidays (mark your diaries!) and is specifically tailored to build self-confidence, teamwork and self-reliance. Some parents enroll their children just so they can learn independence and responsibility – what better way to do so than out on the water? The club has other programmes outside of school hols too so head to the website for more deets.
Republic of Singapore Yacht Club
The club’s Basic Optimist course is a two-day programme for children aged 8 – 14 years that teaches basic sailing techniques and boat handling skills. The club has a long standing and well respected history (dating back to 1826!) but this course is as modern and up-to-date as any other. Passed the basic course? Older kids can move on to Dinghy Sailing, Keelboat Crew, Keelboat Sailing Introduction or Topper Sailing courses, but prerequisites apply — read the small print first to check whether your mini-mariners fit the bill.
If they’ve already passed their basic sailing course then older children 12+ can try their hand at the People’s Association Pico Sailing Conversion Course with Water Venture. With an emphasis on having fun while you learn to sail, other activities at Water Venture include kayaking, wind surfing, dragon boating and power boating (did someone say fun?). The People’s Association works with eight Water Venture outlets across Singapore to ‘foster community bonding and promote a healthy lifestyle’ — we like it!
The Singapore Sailing Federation also has a useful list of boating clubs around the island if you need more inspiration for programmes and courses for kids. The world is your oyster shell mama!