How to sail with us
Information for parents and guardians
If you are thinking of sending a child or a young adult sailing with us, you will probably have a lot of questions. Hopefully most of them can be answered on this website; but if you don’t find the answer to any specific query, please contact the office and we will do our best to help you.
Before a crew member travels
Early voyage termination
See this page for information about our charitable work.
The welfare of all crew members is very important to us. We want to do all we can to ensure they have the best possible time on board Prolific.
If there is anything at all you would like to share with us about a crew member which will help us to make the voyage work better for him or her, please do let us know.
The booking form already requires you to inform us about any medical condition, or any medication they are taking, as well as any food allergies. But it will also help us meet the needs of each individual crew member if we also know about any other physical or learning difficulties, behavioural problems or other special needs.
This might include anything from dyslexia to ADHD; anxiety (are there specific things which make them anxious?); or dietary needs other than allergies – for example, would you prefer to restrict the amount of sweets or fizzy drinks they might have? (We don’t provide many sweets on board but crew members sometimes want to buy large amounts when we go ashore).
If there is anything that might be worrying a crew member, you are of course not obliged to tell us about it, but you should certainly feel free to do so if you think it might help – for example, have they been bullied; or might they be upset about a problem at home or at school? Any information of this nature will be passed by our office to the skipper, who will inform other watch leaders as appropriate. If there is anything at all you would like to tell us, or ask us, please contact the office.
The more we know, the better we can meet the individual needs of each crew member – and we can also ensure they are booked on an appropriate voyage in the first place.
Personal information – If anything has changed since the booking form was completed, please ensure we have correct telephone numbers for an adult we can contact at any time during the voyage; up-to-date medical information; and a doctor’s phone number for each crew member.
What to bring – There is a suggested kit list in the Crew Handbook and on this website – contact us if you have any questions. Please also ensure that crew members do NOT bring aerosols (deodorant etc.) as they are a serious fire hazard. Energy drinks such as Monster and Red Bull are not allowed on the boat as they can have an adverse effect on some people’s behaviour. For the same reason, we ask people to bring only a small amount of sweets. Chewing gum is also not allowed on the boat.
Valuable items – A boat is not the best place for expensive items. They might get wet or otherwise damaged, and there will be limited opportunities to use anything like electronic games, or to listen to music alone – though we can play music through the boat system if everyone wants to listen. Mobile phones are permitted on board and can be great for photography and keeping in touch with those at home. There are, however, times when mobile phones cannot be used. We want people to interact with each other and live in the moment rather than looking at their phones! Also, phones will not work to make calls when the boat is offshore; they can easily get wet or damaged; and it can be dangerous to use phones when working on deck as someone might miss a vital instruction. In some circumstances, phones may be collected in and returned later. We have UK plug sockets on board for charging: however, they only work at certain times when we have an electricity supply, and people will need to share the use of a limited number of sockets.
Lost property – Crew members are responsible for their own personal kit. If they leave something on the boat, contact the office. As there is nowhere to store them, items are normally only retained for a week.
Pocket money – The amount is up to you. Don’t forget the fare home if needed. We may sail to France (or other countries on longer voyages); crew members can bring Euros or other currency if they wish, or change money abroad. We sell RYA logbooks during the voyage for £6 if required. Crew members will not be charged for anything else on board.
Early voyage termination
If a crew member wishes to leave the vessel before the end of the voyage, or if they are asked to leave due to unacceptable conduct, the skipper will notify the OYT South office. The parent / guardian will be informed of the details and arrangements for getting them home, and is responsible for any costs.
OYT South’s Safeguarding policy is available here.
Ocean Youth Trust South’s background
OYT South is a registered charity (no. 1079959). We grew out of the Ocean Youth Club, established in 1960. We are a member of the Association of Sail Training Organisations.
We offer adventure under sail to young people aged 12-25 (plus occasional special voyages for 11-year olds) from a wide range of backgrounds. Some voyages consist of crew members who have made individual bookings; others are booked by schools, youth groups or a wide mix of other organisations. Some are mainstream voyages, but we also work with young people with physical or learning difficulties, plus a variety of highly deserving individuals who live in difficult circumstances.
We do run occasional adult voyages, suitable for parents, guardians, teachers and youth workers – contact our office for details. Adults who are keen sailors can also enquire about joining our volunteer sea staff, or get involved as a shorebased volunteer, supporting anything from vessel maintenance to raising money or leaving a legacy to the charity.
Prolific is maintained in accordance with the Maritime Coastguard Agency’s Code of Practice for Small Commercial Vessels and our own exacting standards. Annual surveys, inspections and regular maintenance ensure that all equipment and the vessel’s specifications meet and exceed the legal requirements for a sail training vessel.
The skipper and mates hold Royal Yachting Association qualifications at the appropriate level. In addition all staff members – paid and volunteers – undergo rigorous in-house assessment and training to ensure the highest standards are maintained, both in seamanship and in working with young people. The skipper will hold an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore certificate (commercialIy endorsed) as a minimum, and will have been approved by an independent assessor to run OYT South voyages with young people on board. The first mate is qualified to take command of the vessel in the event of illness or accident to the skipper. All adults on board will have had a background check with the Disclosure & Barring Service. We have both male and female sea staff on all mixed voyages.
When at sea, the vessel’s position can be monitored from our office and can normally be seen on the website. The boat is always contactable via one or more of the communication systems on board.
Crew members undergo a structured training programme on joining the vessel so that they are able to participate fully and safely in the voyage. Safety training is regularly reinforced during the trip.
OYT South is committed to achieving the highest possible standards in all our work. If you are not satisfied with any aspect of your dealings with OYT South, or if you become aware that a child or young person is unhappy with anything at all during their voyage, please let us know as soon as possible. This gives us a chance to put things right straight away, if we can, so that the voyage ends well for everyone.
If this is not possible, we will endeavour to resolve any outstanding issues, including reviewing our practice and procedures for future voyages. We encourage feedback.
OYT South uses websites and social media to enable young people who sail with us to keep in touch with us and with one another. Please contact us immediately if you have any concerns about inappropriate content, online bullying etc. on any page managed by OYT South.