Sea-Change provides residential opportunities for young people to learn and develop in a unique environment. By living and working together aboard a traditional sailing vessel they participate in a wide range of life skills and are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for their contribution and group decisions.

They offer a graduated set of programmes from entry level tasters to extended residential periods with accreditation, providing an alternative approach to education in a unique setting.

Who is it for? Young people who are...

  • Not in employment, education or training (NEET)
  • Young offenders, or those in danger of offending
  • Experiencing social exclusion
  • With special needs
  • Challenged by traditional educational settings
  • Considering a maritime career.

Sailing Barge Course

In 2013 Sea-Change introduced a Sailing Barge Training Course for young people considering maritime careers. 

The purpose is to offer intensive sailing and seamanship experience in a
short period which would otherwise take a considerable number of standard passages made up of deliveries or charters, and is intended to supplement other experience.  It will take place over two weeks in August and September and will
include periods of study, demonstration and practice led by qualified instructors.

Sea-Change works with people afloat in one of two ways:

Groups totalling twelve including accompanying support staff usually sail for
up to five days from Maldon aboard historic sailing barge Reminder, and bring food for the whole crew. Some people complete the RYA Start Yachting and Competent Crew courses and they are encouraged to return as crew on one of the extended programmes lasting several weeks in the summer months, where food is included and numbers tend to be smaller than twelve. These are usually aboard sailing barge Cambria.


Costs are met by a combination of charter fees paid by groups and individuals, and bursaries arising from specific or general donations towards the work of the charity.

A trainee berth on an extended programme, costs the charity in the region of £100 per head per day, depending on numbers. This means they have to meet the costs of the course in a way similar to their other work. There are other sources of funding for sailing training activities for young people - the individual makes the application although payment can be made directly to the charity.  If this is not possible for you and if you are aged 25 or under and live in mid-Essex, you can apply for a training bursary from Sea-Change for up to 90% of the fee. The amount will be decided according to your situation (a covering letter should be included giving your reasons for applying).

The trustees may consider applications from people aged over 25 in some circumstances, for example, if you are unemployed, have managed to raise some but not all funding, or some other significant reason.

News - July 2019: Blue Mermaid's maiden sail    

Blue Mermaid

Blue Mermaid, the first new steel-build traditional Thames sailing barge launched since the 1930s, has heeled to the wind for the first time on her maiden voyage under sail.  The vessel's a replica of an eponymous ancestor, destroyed by a German mine in the war.  The new version belongs to Sea-change and, like her predecessor, is engineless to maintain a low carbon footprint.

Sea-Change says it runs "an alternative approach to education in a unique setting where clients learn through activity in a structured and safe, yet challenging environment."

Blue Mermaid will cruise the coastal waters of the Thames Estuary, with crews of disadvantaged sailors on board.


News - Mar 2018: Sailing Cambria

Cambria awaiting slipping
During the first few months of this season we will be delivering our work aboard Cambria, something to be relished.

She has just come round from Kent where she is owned and maintained by the Cambria Trust and is seen here on our swinging mooring at Heybridge, just below Maldon, awaiting the dry dock for scrubbing off and antifouling.


News - Feb 2017: Good idea wins prize at ASTO Conference

The 2017 UK Sail Training Conference took place on Friday 27th January at Southampton Solent University. The conference, organised by the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) is supported by Southampton Solent University, and sponsored by Portmore Insurance.

Colin and Rosemary Moody gave a gift of £1000 at the conference for the most interesting idea and Sea-Change’s submission for fall arrest equipment when climbing the rig on Blue Mermaid was drawn first. Pictured are Laura Swallow from Portsmouth Sail Training, who drew the winner, with Richard Titchener, Sea-Change’s Executive Officer.

Sea Change Trust