Badge support | Sailing Staged Activity Badge



The summer is a great time to get your section out on the water and trying a new adventurous activity, like sailing. The Sailing Staged Activity Badge has four levels, which, like all staged badges, progressively become more challenging and build on skills learned in previous stages.

You’ll find more information and guidance about sailing on our website. Or, for further, local support, contact your Assistant County Commissioner (Activities), District Adviser (Activities/Water Activities) or your Regional Adviser (Activities) in Scotland. There may also be a County Team or Scout Active Support Unit near you that can provide additional support.

Permits and risk assessments

If you plan to run this activity yourself on class C waters, you don’t need to hold a permit for sailing. Instead, you must be accompanied by someone who has the appropriate skills and knowledge to lead the activity, and you must complete a thorough risk assessment. If the activity will be held on other waters, you will need a permit. Remember that there may be permit holders in your District, County, Area or Region, especially if you have a Sea Scout Unit locally. Sharing knowledge and time is a great way to enable Groups who don’t hold permits to participate in new adventurous activities.

Alternatively, you can take part in sailing at several Scout Adventures centres around the UK, including Great Tower and Hawkhirst. Scouts Scotland also offer sailing at their activity centre in Lochgoilhead.

Remember that water can be dangerous, and you should always be aware of steps you can take to prevent drowning.


Beavers - Sailing Staged Activity Badge

You can start a staged activity badge at any level, but for the Sailing Staged Activity Badges, it’s important to complete all of the steps in the previous stages first. You will probably find that Stage 1 is most appropriate for Beavers, who are likely to be new to the activity. 

To earn the Stage 1 badge, young people don’t necessarily need to go out on the water, as it’s all about safety checks and boat knowledge. However, it’s likely to be more enjoyable to tick off the requirements for this badge while at your first sailing session – plus, it’ll set your young people up for completing their Stage 2.

Purple Pack Clowbridge Sailing 2015 3

Cubs - Sailing Staged Activity Badge

For Cubs who have had some experience of being on the water before, completing Stage 2 may be a good challenge that will help them improve their competency when sailing.

The Cubs will need enough time to learn the techniques required before being asked to demonstrate them, and it may take several sessions before they feel confident. After achieving Stage 2, your young people will be able to tack (a sailing manoeuvre where the boat travels against the wind), control boat speed, and understand basic sailing principles. 


Scouts Sailing Staged Activity Badge

For Scouts that are new to sailing, it will be best for them to start at Stage 1 or 2, while Scouts who have had some experience of sailing may want to challenge themselves to work towards Stage 3. For these young people, make sure they’ve completed all the steps for Stage 2 first, to ensure they have a good foundation skill level before making it more difficult.

If any of your Scouts sail as a hobby, the Royal Yacht Association (RYA) Youth Sailing Scheme Stage 2 is equivalent to the Stage 2 Sailing Staged Activity Badge. Using the RYA’s ‘Find my nearest’ to see local centres that offer these equivalent qualifications.

Stage 3 will really test your young people – from sail setting to gybing (a sailing manoeuvre to change course when travelling downwind) and picking up a mooring. It may take several sessions, perhaps over the course of the summer, to enable the young people to get enough practice.

As staged activity badges are available from Beavers to Explorers, a stage can be started in one section and finished in another, as long as there is evidence that all the parts have been completed. 


Explorers - Sailing Staged Activity Badge

If any of your Explorers have achieved Stage 3, then they might want to attend an RYA Start Racing course. This will give them all the skills required to start racing their craft, including how to maximise boat speed and outwit each other when out on the water.

If Explorers have worked their way through the stages of this badge and are still looking for an extra challenge, they may be interested to try out sail training adventures. Compare lots of different vessels to find the right sail training adventure for them.

Sail training adventures give young people the opportunity to travel on board a boat, learn new skills and meet new people. Individual programmes offer bursaries to help as many young people as possible to participate, and there are also funding opportunities available within Scouting for specific activities.



Network – Virtual Dinghy Sailing Badge

While the Sailing Staged Activity Badge can only be earned by members in the first four sections of Scouting, members aged 18-25 can earn virtual badges for spending time on the water, such as the Virtual Dinghy Sailing Badge. Factsheets and guidance for running the activity with adults is available online.

Network members can also work towards a permit in Dinghy Sailing, which will earn them an additional virtual badge, and give them more skills and accredited qualifications which they may use in the future. The Alpkit Youth in Adventure Fund can support Network members to gain skills that will allow them to lead adventurous activities in Scouting for other young people.

There is also a space for peer support and mentoring for members of the UK Scout Network with an interest in sailing activities. Join the UK Scout Network - Sailing Mentoring Programme group on Facebook to discuss sailing, find opportunities and receive mentoring from the UK Technical Adviser for Dinghy Sailing and Windsurfing.

Take a look at our other badge support blogs for more advice about completing activity badges with your section.

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