One of the things I am most passionate about in the sport of sailing is finding ways to make it more approachable, available and inclusive for women. As a boat-owning skipper for the past 15 years, I have actively supported women to become part of my crew so they can learn to sail.

Why? Well, there are many reasons, not the least of which is because I think women can do anything they put their minds to! Aside from experiencing the absolute joy of sailing, there are many benefits for women who learn to sail.

– Merilee Wright

To contact and train with Merilee, visit Merilee’s instructor contact page >

Why should women learn to sail?

  • Empowerment

    Learning how to sail can be an empowering experience for women. It can build confidence and self-reliance, as well as provide a sense of accomplishment and pride in learning a new skill.

  • Independence

    Knowing how to sail gives women the freedom to explore the open seas on their own or with friends — without having to rely on anyone else.

  • Adventure

     Sailing can be a thrilling and exciting activity that provides a sense of adventure and exploration. It can open up new opportunities for women to experience different parts of the world and connect with nature.

  • Bonding

    Sailing can be a great way for women to bond with their partners or friends. Sharing the experience of sailing together can create lasting memories and deepen relationships.

  • Career Opportunities

    Sailing can also provide career opportunities for women, like working as a sailing instructor, boat captain, or crew member. By learning how to sail, women can open up new avenues for themselves in the job market.

How can the sailing community encourage and enable more women to sail?

  • Training and Education: Provide women with access to sailing training and education. This is crucial for empowering them in the sport and can include classes, workshops, and mentorship programs that help women build their skills and confidence on the water.
  • Leadership Opportunities: Give women leadership opportunities within sailing organizations and clubs. This can include serving on boards, committees, or as instructors, allowing them to have a voice and influence in the sailing community.
  • Inclusion and Diversity: Promoting diversity and inclusivity in sailing can help empower women and create a more welcoming and supportive environment. Encouraging women of all backgrounds to participate in sailing and addressing any barriers to entry can help ensure that everyone feels welcome and valued in the sport.
  • Role Models: Having strong female role models in sailing can also be empowering for women. This can include professional sailors, instructors, and other women who have made significant contributions to the sailing community. Make sure that the female sailors in your community are visible and hold leadership roles!
  • Advocacy and Support: Advocate for policies and initiatives that support women in sailing, like gender equity in racing events.

Learn to sail for safety

Finally, I believe it’s extremely important for women sailing spouses to understand how to sail for safety. What if you’re out for a sail with your spouse/partner and they have a medical emergency? What if they fall overboard? Would you know what to do? Learning how to sail will enable you to handle the boat in case of an emergency situation where your spouse/partner is unable to do so. 

Overall, empowering women in sailing involves creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, providing training and leadership opportunities, and promoting role models and advocacy. By doing so, women can feel empowered to participate and succeed in sailing.

Merilee Wright

Merilee Wright

Bareboat Charter Master Level V
Qualified Instructor/Assessor
Greater Toronto Area

Learn more about Merilee ›

Merilee’s NauticEd Instructor Page ›

Get Started Sailing Today!

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I find myself drawn to any project that allows me to learn and use my creativity to solve problems - and sailing tops my list!
Trisha Evelyn
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Last updated on June 26th, 2023