ONE DAY to go until the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2022! Find out more.

Our vision

A society where all young people have the opportunity to develop their full life potential

Our mission

To enable young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to fulfil their life potential through experiences at sea and by breaking down the barriers they face in society

Our values




Spinnaker pole

Empowering young people

Working as a team onboard our vessels, young people have the freedom to explore unchartered possibilities, forge new alliances and through shared learning to build the self-esteem, confidence and skills needed to ‘sea beyond their horizon’.

We bring together crews of different social backgrounds and nationalities to promote understanding and friendship onboard.

They grow in their ability to create and develop positive relationships with other young people and adults.

Throughout a voyage, our sailing staff and volunteers share their life lessons and experiences and act as positive role models for the young people.

Quote marks

After 20 years in youth work, I thought I’d seen it all, but we built a level of trust and engagement with the young people during the voyage that would have taken six months to achieve on land. Within four months of the voyage eight of the nine young people had gone into jobs, apprenticeships or college. Amazing!

Colin, Senior Youth Manager

Sail training and maritime careers

Lessons for life. At sea.

Our residential youth voyages encourage teamwork and participation in an occasionally tough, but safe, environment: through storms, wet weather and living in very close quarters.

Whether they’re navigating during particularly rough conditions or baking for a crew of 10 in a tiny galley kitchen, they learn life skills that can’t be taught on land, where it can be all too easy just to walk away!

We’re one of the largest UK issuers of Royal Yachting Association (RYA) certificates with more than 500 awarded a year.

The majority of our voyages of four nights or more, offer young people the opportunity to achieve their RYA Start Yachting or Competent Crew qualification. These courses are the first steps in the RYA training scheme and often set young people on the future careers.

Up to 20% of the young people who sail with us receive a recommendation to return and train with us as a member of the volunteer crew. This gives them the opportunity to support other young people and work towards nationally recognised maritime qualifications that can often lead to a career at sea.

20180324 0785
Quote marks

The experience could not be bettered as an educative means of forming aspirational ambition among young people. I have focused upon Pupil Premium youngsters because Tall Ships Youth Trust represents the most accessible and cost-effective means of delivering truly adventurous training in safety, to these pupils from otherwise impoverished homes.

Martin Smith, Head of PE, Stepney Green School
Young people on Challenger

Our supporters have enabled more than 120,000 young people to experience a transformational voyage since we first began in 1956.

Of the young people who sailed with us in 2021/22


Were from a disadvantaged background or had a disability.


Believe they now work better in teams


Said they are now able to manage their feelings better


Believe their communication skills have improved


Returned home with increased confidence and self-esteem


returned home with improved leadership skills

*Outcomes based on survey responses from 74% of 626 young people who sailed on a residential voyage with us in 2021/22. In a typical year, we take 1,000 young people to sea.

The young people you help

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds represent 75% of our beneficiaries.

Challenges they face include:

  • learning, physical or mental difficulties
  • behavioural, emotional or social difficulties
  • caring responsibilities
  • ethnically diverse backgrounds
  • low income support/single parent household
  • not in employment, education or training
  • on the cusp of, or involved in criminal activity

We work with many youth groups and agencies including YMCA, Scouts, Girlguides, schools, special needs schools, pupil referral units, youth offending teams, young carers, police and The Prince’s Trust.

The benefit of working in this way is that the young people receive additional mentoring outside of our work from their youth workers who accompany them on the voyage.

We accommodate those with special educational needs and disabilities; from varying degrees of learning difficulty, to young people with fine motor coordination and social interaction challenges.

Most importantly, none of the young people that come on our youth voyages need to have ever set foot on a boat before.

Find out more on our Youth Crew pages.

Will Sears

They need your help

We need your support to grow and reach out to more young people than ever before. Please help them today by donating your time or money to help transform their lives.

Read Katie’s incredible story below.