How to Learn to Sail for Free

When looking at how much it’ll cost to learn how to sail for the first time, it might seem like an expensive goal.

However, unless you’re looking to become internationally certified or planning on working as a crew member on a yacht, it doesn’t have to be expensive to learn to sail. As a matter of fact, it’s most definitely possible to learn how to sail for free.

So how can you learn to sail for free? The best way is to find out someone in your personal or professional network who has a sailboat and is willing to teach you. It’s also possible to reach out to members of your community who will agree to teach you how to sail in exchange for working on their sailboat.

Learning how to sail doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor.

As a matter of fact, there are many people I’ve met over the years that learned how to sail from growing up around sailboats or being exposed to them on a regular basis through their network.

While chartering a sailboat and all the other associated fees aren’t cheap, it shouldn’t cost you anything to learn if you’re on a budget.

Learning to Sail for Free

When I first started out sailing, I was at a summer camp in school and learned how to sail on a two-person dinghy. It wasn’t very glamorous, I’ll admit, but it was the introduction that kicked off my passion for sailing.

Years later when I paid to get my International Certificate of Competence (ICC), I realized very quickly how much information I had retained from the past!

As I mentioned before, one of the best ways to learn to sail for free is to find someone in your network of friends or family members who has a sailboat.

There’s no doubt that if you can find even one person, they’d be more than happy to take someone out on their sailboat and show them the ropes (pun intended).

People who own sailboats are thrilled at the idea of having an excuse to take out their sailboat and show others what it’s like to get out on the water.

Learning “off the cuff” like this will probably take longer than if you took courses, but you’ll be able to build a lot of hours and miles which leads to increased confidence when operating a sailboat.

Another way to learn to sail for free is through online courses, which you can find all over the internet.

Of course, you should only consider this method of learning to sail as complementary to the actual practical experience of learning to sail, but it’s nonetheless free.

Offsetting any cost by taking an online course is certainly effective since it can build up your fundamental knowledge and keep it sharp for when you do hit the water.

As you might have imagined, owning a sailboat isn’t the cheapest “investment” out there. There’s often a never-ending list of TODOs with respect to maintenance and what have you, so sometimes owners could use a hand or two to help them out.

Well, if you were to find one of these owners and volunteer to lend them a hand in exchange for lessons, there’s a chance they’d be more than happy with that arrangement.

Actually, I’ve heard this working for those needing to build their miles up, so it’s definitely possible for informal lessons as well.

If you’re a part of a community, whether through your local government, religion, or anything else, there might be community-sponsored events that cater to those looking to learn to sail for free.

If you haven’t considered this option, I highly suggest you get in touch with whichever community you’re a part of or one you can join, and find out if they provide community-sponsored outdoor activities and if sailing is included.

Who said you had to pay a lot of money to learn to sail?

There’s no doubt that if you’re able to discover what’s going on in your network or local community, you can potentially find at least one person who’s willing to take you out on a sailboat and teach you the skills necessary to one day skipper a sailboat.

Learning to Sail on a Budget

What if you have a little extra cash that you’re willing to spend?

In that case, it makes sense to get lessons for someone who not only knows how to sail but also knows how to teach someone to sail.

Without spending a fortune, you can learn to sail from a sailing school or private instructor in no time.

Sailing School

Learning how to sail from a sailing school is probably the most common way to go about it. The fact of the matter is that sailing schools usually have a number of sailboats on hand and have the knowledge to properly train future skippers.

Whether you’re a brand new sailor or already have some experience on a sailboat, paying for courses taught through a sailing school is a great option that can be inexpensive.

Another great perk about learning to sail through a sailing school is you’ll be able to plug yourself into a community of sailors right away.

It’s not uncommon for recurring students to get discounts when choosing to eventually charter the sailing schools sailboats, and the great part about this is the school knows your skill level and will feel confident (or not) when lending their sailboat.

Private Instructor

Finding private instructors when it comes to sailing can be challenging if you don’t know where to look.

Thankfully, if you are able to find one they’ll likely be certified and have a very strong background in sailing.

One of the most important qualities to look for in a private sailing instructor is whether they’re certified. Apart from that, it helps if they themselves have a sailboat you can learn on!

A great aspect of learning to sail from a private instructor is that you can get 1-on-1 lessons from an (ideally) certified professional.

You might be surprised to hear that not all private instructors will charge you a huge sum of money, so definitely don’t count them out when considering how you choose to learn to sail.

Learning to Sail Without a Budget ($$$)

Some people aren’t going to want to spend an arm and a leg to learn how to sail since just chartering or purchasing a sailboat is itself an expensive endeavor.

Either way, there’s still a number of you that might want to drop some bills if you so choose to do so when learning how to sail.

Sailing Holiday

If you’re not very worried about budgeting when embarking on your adventure of learning how to sail, you’ll most definitely want to consider participating in a learn to sail holiday.

Learn to sail holidays can be a lot of fun while still being incredibly educational. As a matter of fact, many sailing schools offer sailing holidays so it’s likely an option for you.

One of the best parts about learning to sail on holiday is being able to experience a new place while learning an exciting new sport. Imagine cruising around the coastal shores of the Bahamas or island hopping along the stretch of islands in Croatia.

Wherever you are on your sailing holiday, the memories you’ll create will last a lifetime.

Embarking on an epic journey when learning to sail can be a life-changing experience. Being able to explore different cultures, meet new people, immerse yourself in sailing, and just having a good time out on the water is an experience I hope everyone could have.

In my experience, I’ve had some of the most genuine and hilarious times when joining a crew of future skippers who are trying to learn to sail as much as you are.