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Coach Development

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Active Thames is an initiative led by Port of London Authority which aims to make watersports more inclusive, diverse and accessible, while promoting the mental and physical health benefits of using the river recreationally.

The following organisations are working together to better serve the watersports community: Active Kent & Medway, Active Essex, London Sport, British Canoeing, British Rowing, RYA, Canal & River Trust, Thames Path National Trail.

Project Overview

group of people at gravesend sailing clubGravesend Sailing Club’s desire to see sailing continue to thrive was supported by an investment in coach development, thanks to the Active Thames grant.

Developing coaches and instructors was seen as fundamental to continuing the heritage of this family-friendly club.

“The history of the club goes back to 1894 when it was started by trade people who were otherwise excluded. Sailing often doesn’t seem accessible but the club’s membership costs the same as a year’s subscription to a newspaper! It started as a club for likeminded people of every background, and that continues today.”

Peter Fletcher, Sailing Instructor.


sailing boats of river thamesThree instructors completed the 5 day, 50 hour, dinghy instructor course and they will now support the delivery of taster sessions and courses.

The Club currently has 141 members but they’re eager to create new opportunities to breathe new life into the club. They hope to make sailing accessible and more affordable to more people, especially young people.

“At first sailing doesn’t seem accessible. You’ve got to learn to sail, you’ve got to buy a boat and you’ve got to find somewhere to keep your boat. Those three things combined aren’t that easy,”

Sean Coomber, the Club’s training principal.

To counteract this view, the club offer Royal Yachting Association dinghy courses, powerboat sailing and safety boat courses, as well as Discover Sailing taster sessions open to all abilities. Over the winter, the club enjoy Knowledge and Nosh sessions: talks where instructors and members discuss sailing, safety, wildlife and more, over dinner.

“Sailing is a great break away from work, it’s a great way to meet people, especially after Covid-19. The club is very supportive. The instructors are really encouraging and educational and everyone helps each other.” Kevin Day, Gravesend Sailing Club member

Anyone wishing to give sailing a go can find further information and make contact with the club at www.gravesendsailingclub.co.uk