Tips for learning to sail in Australia

Here are our top tips for anyone learning, or wanting to learn to sail in Australia


Whether you’re a tiny tot or a full grown human, learning to sail in Australia is a rewarding and exciting experience. Plenty of people take to the water for the first time as adults, so don’t let age hold you back (ever!).

Here are our top tips for getting on the water.

Get help from people who know

Most sailing clubs offer beginner sailing courses for kids and adults. You generally won’t have to be a member in order to join a course. Just take a look at your local sailing club’s website and find the section for ‘courses’, ‘lessons’ or ‘learning to sail’.

If you know people who sail, ask them if they know of any good sailing instructors in your state. If not, jump on Facebook or an online sailing forum, and ask there. Word of mouth is usually the best way to find someone who is patient and good at teaching.

Finished the beginner course?

Once your instructor feels you are ready to sail without his or her supervision, you may like to have a go with your sailing buddies. In the beginning, always go with a seasoned sailor. Trust us when we say, you will forget things when you’re under pressure on the water.

Having a seasoned sailor on your team, that knows to look out for you, will help you learn the ropes while you’re finding your feet without an instructor on board.

Choose your conditions wisely

The best sailors in the world have one trait that even beginner sailors can master, preparation. When you’re hitting the water as a beginner, be sure to choose conditions that make life as easy as possible for you.

Every good sailor is at least 99% obsessed with weather forecasts, simply because they know being prepared is the best formula for a good sail. If the weather looks hairy, don’t go out. Take it one step further by choosing conditions in your favour.

Here are some simple tips to help you prepare:

  • Choose waters that are calm and uncrowded.
  • Opt for a boat that is small, with fewer sails and lines. (One sail is best.) Smaller boats are more maneuverable, and great for learning.
  • Always follow safety basics, no matter what level you are at.
  • Research weather, tide and wind conditions before hitting the water. (There are plenty of good weather apps to help with this.)
  • Know the basic sailing language.

Finally, and most importantly, get on the water as often as you can. Nothing replaces real-life experience when it comes to learning the ropes of sailing. So join a sailing club, and find a crew who needs a hand.

If you’re a newbie and don’t know many people, ask the sailing club to keep an ear out for teams who need crewmembers. Something will eventually come up, and you’ll be nailing it in no time.

Need cover for your sailing boat?

We provide insurance for sailors in Australia and overseas, as well as marine business owners and recreational boaties. Contact us for an obligation-free quote today.