Because we have found that 80% of children in primary schools have not yet learned to swim, the Academy has installed a training pool. Our aim is not to teach potential Olympic swimmers, but rather to give students enough ‘Water Confidence’ so that they are safe in a sailing dinghy. They will be learning, for example, how to right their boat from a capsize and so will be in deeper water than they can stand up in. Despite the fact that all students wear life jackets at all times, so could not sink, the enemy is panic. We need students to be confident in the water even they are not great swimmers.
These lessons will be delivered by volunteers, who will be trained by Swalings Swim School. We estimate that each student will need approximately 10 lessons to achieve the desired standard, and we also estimate that lessons will cost U$5 each, so U$50 will give a child the necessary skills to go on to learn to sail if they wish.
The Academy is now operating at maximum capacity for our resources. There are many more schools that would like to join the sailing programme, but we are limited by equipment availability, staffing levels and financial costs. At present we have some 12 schools/groups on the programme – so capacity for 150 students each week.
The direct overhead associated with the sailing lessons covers the following: instructor wages, boat repairs & maintenance and transport to/from schools – which amount to a cost of U$10 per lesson per student. Unlike swimming, there is no finite number of lessons as you can continue learning to sail for many years. We aim to teach sailing to persons aged 8 – 80 years.