Youth sail training

By crewing the Swan, young people discover the excitement and reward that comes with relying on themselves and each other, and learn some of the most important skills in life.

Sail Training Shetland

We encourage young people to sail with us and aim to keep the techniques of sailing and working a traditional vessel alive. Trips by local schools and youth groups are frequent and immensely popular; we make a special effort to accommodate them.

The Swan Trust has a partnership with Sail Training Shetland to provide annual sail training placements for young people to participate in maritime events and festivals such as the Tall Ships Races, Small Ships Races and Nordic Sail. Applicants for these adventures must be between 15-25 years old and advertising happens in Spring each year for new opportunities to participate.

Trips are tailored to suit the age group. Young primary children are normally afloat for 1½ to 2 hours, and older primary children perhaps 2 to 3 hours.

Secondary classes can be anything from a few hours to a full day sail, or even a week long school trip to Norway and back.

Sail Training Shetland placements are typically longer up to two weeks or more, depending on the location and sea passages required. Some voyages require crossing the North Sea, which can mean a few days without seeing any land. Tall Ship placements also involve race legs between host ports and celebrations in port.

School/shorter trips: The trip is a 'hands on' outing, and under the crew’s guidance children assist with setting sails, deckwork and steering. They are introduced to the basic parts of a sailing boat, and there is usually a hot cuppa for the teachers accompanying them. The trip will also include a brief history of the Swan.

Longer Trips: Trainees are part of the crew and fully involved in the operation of the boat.

We can take a total of 12 passengers, including children and staff.

On longer voyages away from Shetland shores this is reduced to 10, which would include any chaperones or supervisors.

There are no age restrictions on youth sailing around Shetland, we can offer trips to any age tailored to suit.

For participation in Sail Training Shetland placements, the age limit is 15-25 years old.

Yes, we regularly do trips with special needs groups and would be pleased to discuss your requirements.

  • Warm clothing and sturdy footwear
  • Travel sickness pills (recommended if trip is outside harbour limits)

    Sail trainees undertaking longer sea passages will be provided with a kit list prior to departure.
  • Sailing Instruction
  • Lifejackets
  • Safety harnesses
  • Snacks/meals - shorter trips: usually a hot drink and biscuit; trips including overnight stays: all meals and snacks.

Although some sizes of waterproofs are available, it is advisable to take your own if possible.

For further information on what is required for linger trips, refer to our kit list

For information on costs please contact:
Mr Peter Campbell
8 Sandyloch Drive
T: 01595 695193



Want to get involved in sail training boat trips in Shetland? There are a number of different ways you can volunteer.

Learn more

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