Nominations are open for MDL’s Sail Training Awards 2024

MDL Marinas is seeking nominations for its Sail Training Awards 2024.

Each year, these unique awards offer twelve inspirational young people the opportunity to experience a life changing sailing trip with the Ocean Youth Trust South (OYT South) onboard its sail training vessel, Prolific.

Nominate a young person today

MDL is looking for third party nominations for young people aged between 12 and 18, who have supported those around them, shown exceptional accomplishments and achievements or who have overcome adverse personal circumstances.

Those in contact with young people are invited to send in nominations, including teachers, guide or scout leaders, youth group leaders, friends and employers.

The young sailors enjoy all aspects of life on board, including hoisting sails, helping with maintenance, night sailing, cooking, and cleaning, with one winner from this year’s trip saying: “I really enjoyed being on Prolific because it taught me lots of new valuable skills which aren’t exclusive to sailing and we always had lots of fun and I loved meeting new people.”

Spending five nights and six days onboard Prolific, the winners of the 2024 all-encompassing voyage will set sail on 4 April, departing MDL’s Ocean Village Marina in Southampton.

Hazel Craik, organiser of the Sail Training Awards at MDL, comments: “The work the Ocean Youth Trust South does with young people is amazing and we’re honoured to support it with our Sail Training Awards.

“Over the past four decades, we’ve seen how a voyage with the charity can truly change someone’s life. Being onboard Prolificcreates a sense of responsibility and pride and can help build a young person’s confidence and sense of self-worth – I just can’t stress how important an experience like this can be for some young people.”

Illustrating just how valuable the experience can be, Adeana Rowan (17) now volunteers with the OYT South after completing a voyage with the trust in 2021, having been nominated for an MDL Sail Training Award by her form tutor.

She says: “I am incredibly grateful to MDL for funding my first voyage – without it I would not have discovered OYT South and likely would have never gone sailing.

“The voyage genuinely gave me the opportunity to build my confidence, going from being anxious about spending a week with people I didn’t know to not wanting to leave, as well as enabling me to discover the joy of sailing. I cannot express enough how much the MDL award and OYT South can have an impact on young people including myself.

“After my first voyage I didn’t even think about volunteering – I just knew that I loved the voyage and wanted to go back. Talking with other crew and staff I discovered that you could train with OYT South and become a volunteer. One of my reasons for volunteering is I know first-hand how impactful a voyage onboard Prolific can be and I want to support this amazing charity in providing voyages to other young people.

“Due to my experience with OYT South, I am now considering studying marine engineering/naval architecture at university – something I didn’t even know existed before.”

The winners are selected from the regions in which MDL Marinas are located: the South West, Dorset, Hampshire, Thames Valley and East Coast.

Past winners have included young people who’ve had added family responsibilities, been involved in voluntary work or been outstanding achievers, as well as those who’ve never had the chance to travel abroad.

Nominating is easy, it’s all online. You’ll need to provide some basic contact details and write a couple of paragraphs (no more than 200 words) on why you’re making the nomination. Go to

Nominations close on Friday 12th January 2024. A shortlist will then be compiled for local interviews before the winners are selected in March 2024.

More news from All At Sea