A new scheme, Sailing Wellness is designed to help sufferers of PTSD by teaching them to sail remote controlled boats has been launched.

Sailing Wellness is a new initiative founded by Simon Collyer, an experienced sailor and former member of the Olympic Training Squad. He is also interested in PTSD and other mental health conditions and wanted to use his sailing experience to help sufferers alleviate their symptoms through involvement with sailing. He approached ISMAUK, as the leading professional body for workplace and personal stress management, to see if they could help by spreading awareness of his project amongst their community and got a very positive response.

Having sailed radio-controlled (RC) boats in South Africa, Simon saw the potential of using RC boats to teach sailing to those with PTSD and other conditions in the UK. He said,

“The great benefit of sailing with RC boats is that participants are kept onshore – on the water, it is more likely that PTSD sufferers may experience  anxiety attacks due to sudden noise or movements, for example if a helicopter flies over.”

“Getting people afloat using RC boats requires a lot of concentration by participants, rather than simply being passengers or crew members on a yacht. The Sailing Wellness project aims to break the cycle of rumination in PTSD and other conditions, where people go over and over what went wrong in a continuous loop. It gets participants out of the house, mixing with others, and helps them to feel life has not ended, despite major setbacks.”

Simon Collyer, Sailing Wellness

The Sailing Wellness project uses the new DragonFlite 95 Class and the smaller DragonFly 65 radio-controlled boats, designed in the UK and manufactured by Joysway Hobby. The growth of these classes has been explosive worldwide. With one rig and a basic transmitter it is possible to get afloat for as little as around £350. The boats use four rigs and change down in size as the wind increases. A fully tricked-up boat with four rigs and a better-quality transmitter is still under £1,000.

“We are pleased to be supporting Simon with the development of his Sailing Wellness initiative. As the leading professional association for both personal and workplace stress management, we have been supporting mental health, wellbeing and performance for over 30 years. ISMAUK is dedicated to promoting knowledge and best practice in stress management, and projects like Sailing Wellness will mean sufferers from mental health and stress-related conditions can take part in therapeutic activities to alleviate and reduce their symptoms. PTSD is a condition that affects a far wider range of people than is sometimes realised, and victims can suffer lasting effects. Getting involved with sailing without actually being on the water is a great idea and I am sure it will advance the healing process for those affected.”

Carole Spiers, Chair, ISMAUK

Simon added that he was delighted to have the support of ISMAUK as their involvement will enable Sailing Wellness to access a wide network of mental health professionals, and wellness counsellors and to connect with those dealing with stress in the workplace.  He concluded that he had every confidence that teaching sailing to those with mental health issues can only be of lasting benefit.

Back-up and management of RC boats requires a lot of know-how, tools, and expertise. Simon is seeking to attract grant-funders or donors, to enable him to purchase a motorhome training base and workshop for Sailing Wellness, and to fund boat transport and accommodation. Please get in touch if you can help.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Workplace Wellbeing Professional is an online magazine featuring news and analysis on a broad range of employee wellbeing topics, focused on a UK based audience.