Parent Information

Youth group is an activity organised by the Queen Mary Sailing Club (QM) and professional staff will lead the sessions on and off the water. However, we cannot do it without the invaluable support of parents. This helps us to increase the number of spaces, allowing us to support more young sailors on the water.  There are many ways to get involved ... both on and off the water.

Parents (or a responsible adult acting in loco parentis) must remain onsite throughout the YG sessions.  This also applies to the Youth Group 'Intro to Racing' sessions.



The club provides an RYA Instructor to oversee each session, with a second QM instructor to support, and each week we also welcome specific volunteer roles on the water. Upon signing up to Youth Group you will be encouraged to join the ‘on-water’ volunteers. We are looking for parents with good sailing experience whom we can train to become powerboat drivers (PB) to help on the water. PB drivers will be trained by Queen Mary to gain the RYA PB2 qualification, and their competence to be on the water must be signed off by QM. A rota will then be agreed so you know well in advance if you are ‘on-water’.

The on-water team is not for everyone and we will not put you in a position where you are uncomfortable. Ideally it is made up of parents coming forward who are keen to get involved: it’s a really great way to see your children and all of youth group developing.

*If you are new to a role, training and/or a briefing will be given to help you fully undertake the task*



BEACH CREW – we ask all parents to assist in the rigging up, launching, recovery and packing away of dinghies.  This helps ensure we have maximum time possible on the water.  You do not need to have specific sailing knowledge to help with this.  All you need to do is bring some suitable footwear to assist moving boats.

POWERBOAT CREW – an on-water role assisting the PB Helm.  Although no practical knowledge is necessary, a basic understanding of sailing is preferred.  Powerboat crews not only offer encouragement and basic coaching on the water, they also deal with capsized boats, so it's not always a completely dry role!

POWERBOAT HELM – an on-water role taking charge of a PB.  All PB Helms must be qualified to a minimum of RYA Powerboat Level 2 (PBL2) and signed off by QM.  QM offers fully subsidised training to this level for regular volunteers.  In addition, QM runs powerboat refresher days to keep practical skills current, as well as looking at how to deal with a capsized dinghy from a PB.

ASSISTANT INSTRUCTOR (AI) – an active instructional role.  QM strongly encourages parents who have a good personal level of sailing to take this course.  For those who can regularly volunteer, QM will offer this professional course at a heavily subsidised rate.

RACE TRAINING INSTRUCTOR – Parents who have a strong racing background have the opportunity to get qualified up to Racing Coach Level 2 (RCL2) (or, for those with the RYA Dinghy Instructor qualification, to up-skill to the Race Endorsement).  There are prerequisites for this course, so please discuss with the QM office if you are interested in this role.

If you would like to get involved in any of the above roles specifically, please talk to the QM office.


Training Qualifications for Volunteers (ON-WATER)

The two most common training courses we offer ...

  • RYA Powerboat Level 2 - the minimum qualification needed to drive a PB at QM, and also a nationally recognised qualification forming the main practical assessment of the ICC (a qualification often needed overseas when driving PBs on foreign waters).
  • RYA Assistant Dinghy Instructor - first step onto the Instructional Ladder. A 2-day course to give you the basic teaching tools to teach the sport of sailing.

Volunteer parents assisting on the water will receive free powerboat training, as we will fully fund your professional RYA qualifications in return for assisting.


Beach Crew - Notes for the safe launching & recovery of dinghies

It is very much appreciated when parents assist with the launching & recovery of Youth Group dinghies up and down the bank, as the children are not strong enough to do it themselves. A few points to bear in mind to help ensure everyone stays safe:


  • Buoyancy aids must be worn by everyone on the bank, and it is strongly advised that good, solid footwear is worn (flip flops are not typically appropriate footwear)
  • Doublehanders – Mast Head Float (MHF) is raised & main halyard attached to the mainsail
  • Before going down the bank, ensure the boat is securely fastened to the trolley with all loose kit tied in (daggerboards!)
  • If needing the drag winch, this must only be operated by a trained person
  • Launch stern (back end) first with a minimum of 2 people at the bow
  • No persons to stand downhill of the wheels or boat at any time
  • Take care near the water's edge: it is slippery!
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