Sea to Sky Sailing is passionate about the future of sailing as a hobby, a lifestyle and even a career.  We have developed a unique program to enable eager young sailors to stick with sailing, and to build their skills on the water so they can enjoy a lifetime of adventure on any path they wish to take.

A Unique Sailing Apprenticeship

Our program is open to young adults, ages 16-25.  

Apprentices commit to acting as a Deck Hand on board courses, cruises and races with Sea to Sky Sailing.  In this position, you will gain a huge amount of sailing experience and mileage that most people would take years to develop.  You will help the skipper in all aspects of running the boat and helping the crew, giving you a unique opportunity to learn all about:

  • Leadership & crew management
  • Passage planning and navigation
  • Watch keeping
  • Inshore racing 
  • Anchoring, docking and boat handling under power
  • Victualing and meal preparation
  • Yacht maintenance
  • Basics of boat electronics and mechanics

Beyond Apprenticeship

At the end of your Apprenticeship season, you will have a solid sailing logbook with hundreds of nautical miles gathered during sailing courses, races, and adventure cruises.  You will have developed a valuable skill set with exceptional leadership and communication skills.  And you will have experience and a depth of knowledge equivalent to our Day Skipper program (International Yacht Training's International Bareboat Skipper curriculum).

We will help you take your sailing in whatever direction you wish to go:

  • Become a cruising instructor (to teach you must be over 18 years old).  We are always looking for good instructors!
  • Get a spot as race crew on a competitive local boat.
  • Take the next steps to launch a career as a sailing skipper or superyacht crew anywhere in the world.
  • Pursue other education or work in the marine industry.  

Requirements

We have some basic requirements for our Apprentices:

  • Be 16-25 years old.  
  • Commit to acting as our Deck Hand Apprentice for a minimum of 15 days over the course of a year.  You will need to be flexible as the sailing and boat care schedule may change during the year.
  • Hold a current Standard First Aid certificate with CPR (Red Cross or St. John's Ambulance). 
  • Hold a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator's Card (PCOC).  If you don't have this, do not let that hold you back!  It is very straightforward to get the PCOC, just contact us for help on this.  
  • Some sailing experience is preferred.  

You must have a couple other key ingredients including:

  • A fantastic, unbeatable attitude.  Sailing is always a mixed bag, and we want to see a smile on your face and a positive outlook no matter what the sea throws at you.
  • Be prepared for anything, including the right clothing for the conditions and a good level of strength and fitness.  
  • Maturity, responsibility and an element of professionalism.  This means that you behave respectfully towards everyone else on board, that you take responsibility for yourself, that you show up on time and that you act like a pro.  
  • Be organized with your things and your life so that you can focus on the program rather than spending all your time trying to find your lost socks or trying to catch up on homework.  

Program Costs

The 2017 Sailing Apprentice Program fee is $525.  To put this in perspective, other similar apprenticeships in Europe cost close to $10,000.  

Our program fee covers the very basic costs of having an Apprentice on board, including your food for up to 5 days of live-aboard sailing.  

There are optional additional costs that are not part of the core program, such as the exam fee if you wish to take the IYT or ICC exam for certification at the end of your Apprenticeship.  You may also wish to participate in more live-aboard programs so will need to contribute a nominal amount to cover additional expenses.  

Some of our events during the year are not part of the Apprenticeship Program, such as marquis races.  Our Apprentices are welcome to participate in these special events as regular students at the youth discount rate (20% off).

Application Process

Think it through. Are you ready to commit your time (at least 15 days!) and energy to becoming a great sailor?     

Trick question!  If you've read this far, of course you are!

Here's how you become an Apprentice:

  1. Contact us Send us a short email about yourself and your goals in joining the Sailing Apprentice Program.  We want to talk to you before you spend a bunch of time filling out an application form, to make sure you know what you are getting into and that you meet the basic requirements.  
  2. Complete your application.  When you contact us (see step 1), we will give you an application form that gives complete instructions.  Fill it all out and send it back to us.  
  3. The program fee is due when you are selected as an Apprentice. 
  4. Join us for an orientation.  We will organize an orientation day for you to meet our instructors and go for a short sail so we can see where you're at and confirm a suitable Apprenticeship schedule for 2016.  

This is where the best year of your life (so far) starts!