Keeping Cork Active
Keeping Cork Active

Sailing into Wellness: Helping communities access the water!


Sailing into Wellness Promotes Positive Physical and Mental Health!

Sailing into Wellness is a not-for-profit social organisation which provides  sailing opportunities  for groups with additional needs, mental health organisations, those in addiction recovery, direct provision centres and youth at risk, that uses the unique setting of the sea to help promote inclusive programmes. Inclusive watersports programmes ran by Sailing into Wellness promote positive metal health and physical well-being, while also using the sea to inspire change in the community.

SIW offers an opportunity for people to get out of the house, get active and socialize. SIW programs use sailing as a platform to promote social and personal development. Participants first come with a parent, sibling, or carer for a taster sail. They can continue with this, or progress to sail with peers of similar age, social development or with similar goals.

Recently, the Kinsale outdoor education centre have also offered special schools and disability services to go for trips  on wheelchair-accessible powerboat ‘Saoirse’ which can cater for up to eight passengers. Saoirse can offer scenic fast (or slow) boat trips around Kinsale Harbour and up sections of the Bandon River. Apart from abundant wildlife, Kinsale and the Bandon River are steeped in maritime history dating back many years. Some sights on these trips are the old head of Kinsale, a view of Charles Fort from the water and the sovereign islands. These trips are open to families, clubs or service providers.

The opportunity to progress in the programme allows participants the chance to take part independently, away from their carer and a pathway into certification, volunteer and career opportunities. One particular pair have achieved their ‘Level 2’ skills and their national powerboat cert, progression to volunteer at the watersports inclusion days. Other participants’ parents stated the weekly sails were the only thing that got them through the leaving cert and has given them the confidence to live independently. Participants have also stated that the sails helped their mental health and allowed them to make friends.

As SIW caters for specific needs, children who were usually unable to access typical watersport activities were able to participate here. Families came with siblings or friends. They reported that it was amazing to be able to interact with their child in new ways and to see them happy and excited and socialize better.


For more information on Sailing into Wellness contact or for any of the other inclusive programmes,  please contact Sports Inclusion Disability Officer, Cliona at or visit


Check out the slideshow below for more of the action!

Skip to content