Test the Water Programme

Sailing for all Island year 6 School Children

The Test the Water programme offers all year 6 primary school children on the Isle of Wight, the chance to participate in a half-day FREE watersports session. The aim of this programme is to support all of our young people to gain water-confidence alongside introducing them to sailing.

The Test the Water programme is sponsored by:

About the Test the Water programme

Launched in 2014, the ‘Test the Water’ programme offers all Year 6 Island children the opportunity to come to UKSA try sailing and watersports through a taster session with their school.

We offer the programme to every year 6 child on the Island free of charge, meaning that every child can participate regardless of background or financial situation. This inspiring programme is funded entirely through the donations of individuals and local Island businesses.

We need to raise £52,500 to ensure that all of the 1,500 Year 6 Island children are able to participate in ‘Test the Water’ in 2023. A contribution of just £2.91 per month will enable a child to experience an adventure on the water.

Make a donation to Test the Water

Building confidence

As well as covering aspects of water safety (vital for children living on an island), these sessions are designed to develop confidence and key skills. These include communication, resilience, and team-work. Learners are pulled out of their comfort zone in a safe and supportive environment.

How is it funded?

A huge thanks to the following supporters who have helped fund this programme:
  • Wightfibre
  • Aberdeen Standard Investments
  • Red Funnel
  • Esplanade
  • The WightAid Foundation
  • Chris and Victoria Preston
  • Grace Palmer
  • Daisie Rich Trust
  • The Joan Braithwaite Sailing Trust Just Giving Fundraising
  • Several anonymous individual donors

A contribution of £2.91 per month will enable a child to have an adventure out on the water.

Who is it for?

The programme was designed to provide all Year 6 pupils on the Isle of Wight the opportunity to get on the water without the barrier of cost. Sailing is often viewed as an elitist sport and we are seeking to change the stigma locally, providing all youngsters with the opportunity to experience the thrill of sailing and watersports, regardless of their background.


Caroline Sice, Head Teacher, Lanesend Primary School says..

“I see every day the impact of this (child poverty and deprivation) and how it can result in low confidence, low self- worth, low mood and low aspirations. Many of our children miss out on life’s opportunities and the experiences that many other children enjoy because of cost and mindset.”

“Our children’s experiences should not be limited by cost. It is our aim that every child experiences a range of opportunities offered to them from trips away, theatre visits, activities, sports and sailing here at UKSA. I know what a difference you are making by supporting the ‘Test the Water’ programme, I see every day the children develop in confidence and self-esteem to become more prepared for life’s aspirations.”

Next steps

So you loved your free sailing session, now what?

We are working hard to ensure free or subsidised follow-on opportunities are available for interested students, through programmes such as Polly’s Challenge and Fun Days.

To find out more information on what’s available take a look at our Leisure pages here.

Register your interest