The first free boatgen get afloat day took place on 10 October at the Andrew Simpson Centre in Portsmouth.
boatgen is a not-for-profit initiative, delivered in partnership by boatfolk and The Andrew Simpson Foundation, which aims to engage and encourage young people to experience the benefits of being on the water.
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 watersports such as paddleboards and kayaks, with a view to progressing to a sail experience day in the future.
Dominic Zammit, director at boatfolk, said:“Our inaugural boatgen get afloat day was a huge success. Despite a grey start to the day, all our boatgen participants had a smile on their face as they took to the water, some for the very first time. It was absolutely fantastic to see such a great mix of young people discovering a new passion and exploring what might be next in their boating journey. We can’t wait to build on the success of this first get afloat day and will be announcing further dates at other locations across the UK very soon.”
Tim Long, boatgen ambassador, said: “After seven months of planning it was incredible to finally kick off the boatgen campaign with the first get afloat day. Watching the groups head out on the water resonated with memories of when I first started sailing. I’ve also decided that I need to give windsurfing a try, it looks like a lot of fun!”
Hermione Garner, centre manager, ASC Portsmouth, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with boatfolk to help realise our shared visions of enabling people to get onto the water and experience all the amazing benefits it brings. The Andrew Simpson Foundation and Andrew Simpson Centres in Portsmouth are passionate about giving opportunities to young people, so the launch of boatgen and the first of many sailing experience days is an exciting new venture for us.”
To celebrate the start of boatgen and to help unite the UK’s next boating generation, boatfolk and The Andrew Simpson Foundation have also launched a nationwide photo competition on Instagram. The competition encourages young people to share their favourite moments on the water with the hashtag #boatgen. The winner will receive free watersports training of their choice, as well as an exclusive goody bag. The “most fun on the water” picture will be judged by a panel of water enthusiasts, including boatgen ambassador, Tim Long, with the winner being announced at the end of October. More information can be found on the @weareboatfolk Instagram page.
Further dates for boatgen get afloat days 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.
For further information about boatfolk, visit: www.boatfolk.co.uk.