Frequently Asked Questions

What is sail training?
Sail training is more than learning how to sail. Sail training is about character development and personal growth in the context of a close-knit community on board the ship. It provides intensive life experiences to stimulate leadership development, team building, a heightened awareness of nature, and an appreciation of historical sailing vessels. Sail training develops confidence, environmental stewardship, courage, strength, and humility. In the process, trainees learn all aspects of sailing the ship, such as navigation, sailing terms, parts of the ship, wheel operation, galley chores, line and sail handling, knots, etc.

When and where do I board and disembark the ship?
Your group will board the ship at 10:30 am on the first day of your sailing, and disembark at approximately 3:00 pm (unless otherwise arranged with the crew) on the last day of the sailing. Boarding and disembarking will likely take place at Ship Point Wharf in Victoria's Inner Harbour.

How can I arrange transportation and accommodations for before/after the voyage?
Links to accommodations and transportation options can be found at

What about rough seas and seasickness?
Group trips takes place within the protected waters of the Gulf Islands and on the east side of Vancouver Island. The seas rarely become rough enough to cause discomfort, unless someone is particularly sensitive to motion. If you know that you are prone to seasickness you should check with your physician for medicinal recommendations.

What are the berths like?
Each berth is a single bunk with a mattress. Bunks are in three tiers (levels that do not overlap) on each side of the ship.

Do you offer vegetarian or special diets?
Our professional cooks can accommodate vegetarian and special dietary needs. It is important to complete this information accurately on your registration form so that our cooks can be prepared in advance for any special needs.

How often do we go ashore?
We try to get ashore at least once per day, weather permitting.

Who will be on board my sailing trip?
There are 28 trainees on board each trip. Fourteen girls and fourteen boys are divided into two different holds (sections of the boat) and each hold has a head (small washroom). And there will be 7 crew members on board leading the sail training activities.

Do I need sailing experience?
No, anyone aged 13-25 can sail on one of our trips (provided they have normal physical fitness and agility). We do all the training required.

How much do we sail?
We sail as much as the wind and weather will allow.

Can I recharge my camera batteries?
Yes, we do have outlets for battery chargers and these outlets are shared amongst everyone, so it is best to have some backup batteries in case you do not have access exactly when needed. Other appliances (e.g. hair dryers, iPods, computers) should be left at home.

Can I bring my musical instrument?
Please call the office in advance to make these arrangements unless your instrument can fit into your pocket. There are many opportunities to play your instrument and we love music, but we need to make sure we have space on board!

Do I need money on the trip? How much?
There will be SALTS gear sold on the ships on the last day. We accept credit cards or cash (though we advise you not to carry large amounts of cash). You will not need other money for use during your voyage, but may need some for before and after your voyage.

How safe is the boat?
Please visit our safety section.

Do I really need rubber boots?
Yes. If it is pouring rain for four hours during your watch duty, you could end up very uncomfortable and with wet shoes for the rest of the trip. You do not need to go out and purchase expensive deck boots; plain ‘gum boots’ work just fine.

What are the physical and mental health requirements?
Please see the policies section.

Does my SALTS voyage qualify toward the Duke of Edinburgh Award?
There are some parts of a SALTS voyage that can be used to meet certain requirements of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.  Please contact your local Duke of Edinburgh Award office to confirm this prior to your trip.  When you board the ship, you will need to let your Watch Officer know that you are working towards your Duke of Edinburgh Award.

What is SALTS?

SALTS, the Sail and Life Training Society, has been engaging and challenging youth through sail training since 1974.  Over 1,700 young people sail aboard our schooners Pacific Swift and Pacific Grace each year.  We sail with school and youth groups each spring and fall.  Individual young people can join our summer program for ten-day voyages that collectively circumnavigate Vancouver Island.  Every few years, we conduct an offshore voyage to exciting ports around the world.

SALTS is a not-for-profit, Christian organization that welcomes trainees from all faiths and walks of life, and respects the diversity that exists within the ship's company.  In all aspects of our programs, emphasis is on creating an environment where young people are esteemed regardless of their beliefs and listened to when they talk.