Get Afloat Croydon

A Sport England Funded Project to help young people get active and out on the water

from April -July 2021

Joining Instructions for Parents who have had a session time and date confirmed by Get Afloat Croydon

Youth Taster Sessions Spring 2021

 We are running these sessions which last two and half hours as a general introduction to sailing and water sports  and do not expect  that young persons coming along to have had any previous experience of sailing or kayaking on the water.

Prior to the session: What to bring

Dress for the weather. Layers of loose clothing best – long sleeved T shirt; warm jumper or fleece, jogging trousers-not jeans as they are too tight  to flex legs, a hat, gloves, warm socks and old trainers .

We provide wets suits for the cold weather in April so bring along a thin t-shirt and leggings to wear under the wetsuit to make it more comfortable. Then if your child does fall in the water they are protected from the cold and will have their own dry clothes to change into. Therefore bring a towel and shower gel just in case.

Parents remember to bring a drink/snack for end of session; after several hours outdoors your child can be tired and the park café often has a queue.

Bring completed medical information/ photography form OR parent/ carers complete on arrival if you did not provide an email address to the Training Centre. This information is given only to instructors should they have to administer first aid or call paramedics in an emergency.

What takes place during a session?

  • Introduction to instructors, ground rules including respect for each other and how to ask for help. Review social distancing rules.

Getting dressed for sailing- put on wetsuits and waterproof dungarees and spray top jackets are issued for young persons to keep dry and warm. Helmets are allocated and adjusted for correct fit.

  • We show children how to wear a buoyancy aid to ensure correct fit- this will keep  upper body above water and can be used to lift a child out of the water if they fall in .
  • Sailing Dinghy Introduction – naming parts of the boat, what the different parts do  
  • Demonstration how to assemble the boat ( Morning session ) – called rigging. Safety in the boat park  then each student puts  their own dinghy parts in
  • Explanation of how the boat controls work – steering  and turning, slowing down, speeding up when to pull the ropes and when to let go
  • Practice drill – demonstration of how to turn the boat, where to sit , changing sides – practice in own boat in the boat park on grass

Going Out on the water  60 minutes

  • Safety on the water talk – demo what happens if I they fall in
  • Launching – taking the boat on a trolley up to waters edge and putting into the water and tying it up to the pontoon.
  • Demonstration by instructor of what to do leaving the pontoon sailing around two marker buoys and returning to the pontoon
  • Preparing the boat ready to set off then each student sits in dinghy ready to sail towards first marker buoy
  • Practice sailing on the water in an area close to shore to start with then area can be expanded as confidence increases.

The instructors coach students from a powerboat patrolling the lake, coming alongside the dinghy if additional support  is needed

After sailing on the water we guide the young persons in their sailing dinghies back to the pontoon so they can step out the boats and take a break

Bringing  the session to a close 30mins

  • Short talk about how the sailing session went, answering questions
  • In boat park short game to assess what they have remembered/ understood
  • Talk about next steps to carry on learning sailing skills
  • Put away sailing clothing and equipment ( Morning session leave boats on the water/ afternoon session bring boats off the water into the boat park and take parts off boat called de-rigging )

The lake is an ideal learning environment as its never far to the jetty or shore – if children fall in a safety boat is standing by to help them get out of the water and go ashore to get changed into dry clothes. We do not expect them to swim back to the shore. A child should be “Water confident” i.e. not afraid of being in the water whilst not being expected to be a strong swimmer.

Covid 19 Risk assessment

  •  Parents and children SHOULD NOT attend if they have Covid 19 symptoms or have to self -isolate due to contact with a person who has had a positive test – another session can be arranged at a later date.
  • We provide buoyancy aids, helmets spray jackets, waterproof trousers, neoprene  boots  for keeping warm in cold winds and rain showers. After each session they are cleaned in a sterilising solution and left to dry overnight, and we aim to use same clothing after a 3 day break.
  • Dinghies are wiped down with anti-viral solution if being used again on the same day. One dinghy is allocated to each student  for the training period.
  • Instructors will wear a mask if they need to come close to any student in difficulty
  • Toilets are in use and after 12th April changing rooms can be used – though they can be used in an emergency if a child is wet and needs to change to get warm and dry
  • All teaching outdoors – Large Gazebo shelter erected for shelter
  • We ask parents to disperse after arrival, though they are able to watch the activity from park pathways and can help with some putting away of heavy equipment at the end of session provided social distancing is maintained.

All available sessions are now full. There is a waiting list for those who have applied but have not yet been allocated a date or time and have been notified by email.

Questions and Answers

  • What does it cost ? Its free to young persons referred to the Training Centre by Croydon Voluntary Action and other Community Groups working with young persons to tackle inequality
  • How old do you have to be to sail ? The activity is for ages 8 to 16years
  • How long is a taster session? A session lasts 3 hours either morning or afternoon
  • When are the taster sessions? When Government permits organised sport outdoor activities to resume again, which we hope will from April. We are planning session for Saturdays and during the Easter school holidays; suggested dates in April are Saturday 3rd ; Tuesday 6th; Thursday 8th, Sat 10th , Tuesday 13th and Sat 17th . Then every Saturday from then on up until July.
  • Mornings 10:00 am – 1:00pm, Afternoons 2:00 – 5:00pm
  • How do I book ? Email : with details of the agency that referred you to the project, how many in the group and ages and we will reply asking for some details and a contact- either email address or phone number.
  • I am not used to going on the water, will I fall in ? We practise using the controls on land first, then start out on the water near the shore with instructors close by in patrol boats and teach you how to sail in a controlled and safe way. Some beginners fall in if the boat is caught by strong winds or the boat is unbalanced. Wearing a buoyancy aid keeps you afloat, special clothing helps to reduce shock of the water being cold then the instructors collect you out of the water from the patrol boat.
  • What if its bad weather ? Instructors plan the activity on the water according to weather conditions; if its too windy we change the activity such as kayaking, practice being towed by a powerboat and onshore training.
  • What if I can’t swim? We provide buoyancy aids to wear which are designed to keep your upper body afloat so you can breathe freely. If you fall in the water a patrol boat will help you back into a boat and take you a shore if needed.
  • What do I need to wear ? loose clothing, joggers, long sleeve t-shirts, hat and gloves for old days; bring a spare set of clothes in case you get wet and need to change to warm up. We provide waterproof over trousers and jacket and/ or wetsuits depending on the weather and wind conditions plus wetsuit boots and helmets all aimed to keep you warm, safe and dry.
  • Is it Covid 19 safe? The activity is outdoors in open air and we only book small groups of 6 working with instructors. Each young person has one boat each, no sharing and equipment and clothing is cleaned after each session. Toilets and changing rooms are open and numbers entering are limited to maintain social distancing .