To engage and encourage young people to experience the benefits of being on the water, boatfolk has partnered with the Andrew Simpson Foundation to launch #boatgen, a not-for-profit sailing initiative which aims to get children and teens on the water.
Dominic Zammit, director at boatfolk, said; “We believe it is possible to transform and make a difference to young lives through sailing, it offers essential life skills like teamwork, confidence and perseverance. boatgen is a movement that seeks to ignite a passion for being on the water in UK’s youth and to create a community of boaters for the next generation. We want to take away the fears and barriers associated with trying boating for the first time and to foster a sense of pride in our young boaters. boatgen provides curious water-lovers with the support, guidance, and tools they need to try boating.
“We are thrilled to be partnered with the highly respected Andrew Simpson Foundation. This great stride forward will help us to achieve our shared goals, getting as many people as possible having fun afloat and giving our young people around the UK new and exciting opportunities. We look forward to a long and exciting partnership with the Andrew Simpson Foundation.”
Sir Ben Ainslie, who is a founding trustee of the Andrew Simpson Foundation, said; “With stunning coastline in the UK, and so many benefits associated with getting out on the water, it is time to start introducing the next generation to the amazing experiences that come with being a boater. boatgen is an incredible initiative that looks to truly inspire and motivate young people to get outdoors and try sailing or to help them achieve their dream careers in the marine and maritime sector, regardless of their circumstances. I am really proud of the impact the Andrew Simpson Foundation is having both locally and nationally, partnering with organisations like boatfolk to achieve this.”
All participants in boatgen activities will be guided onto the most suitable pathway for them, whether that is further education, careers, performance racing, or leisure boating. Some of the activities boatgen will be delivering include:
Sailing experience days
Delivered in partnership with ASF and other sea school partners, sailing experience days will provide free opportunities to try sailing for the first time. The first boatgen sailing experience day will be held at ASC Portsmouth on 10 October. Further dates at other centres and boatfolk marinas will be announced soon. To register your interest, visit the boatfolk website: www.boatfolk.co.uk/boatgen/boatgen-activities.
Pop-up boat club
Plans for a roving fleet of keel boats and leisure equipment are underway. The pop-up boat club will travel the country, bringing opportunities for the local boatgen community to get out on the water at each of the boatfolk marinas and Andrew Simpson Centres. More details will be announced soon.
Get afloat days
Recognising that taking that first step on a boat can be scary, get afloat days allow young people to get out on the water through entry level equipment such as paddleboards and kayaks, with a view to progressing to a sail experience day in the future.
Helping those that want to pursue a career in the marine sector find the right pathway for them, whether that be a future in performance racing or working within the marina environment.
Youth ambassador program
Giving experienced young boaters a virtual platform to share their passion with peers. Tim Long, who was the youngest person to sail around Britain at 15-years old, has signed up to be a boatgen ambassador hoping to inspire other people his age.
Tim Long, boatgen ambassador, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining as a boatgen ambassador and am excited to share my experiences with peers and encourage them to try out the sport that I am so passionate about. I love the feeling of freedom and self-reliance that comes with being on the water and I think that every young person should have an opportunity to experience that too.”
For more information and to get involved, visit www.boatgen.co.uk.
Use #boatgen to help spread the joy of boating and encourage participation.
For further information about boatfolk, visit: www.boatfolk.co.uk.