by Ian Leeson
Jay Weatherill, the Premier of South Australia, has 'jumped aboard' the innovative Tackers program that introduces children to the challenges and enjoyment of sailing.
Among those to greet the Premier at the official 2013 Adelaide Boat Show breakfast on Friday 21 June were two Tackers participants, Ashleigh and Thomas.
These budding sailors are involved in a Tackers course at the Adelaide Sailing Club and their enjoyment of the program was evident in their animated conversation with the Premier.
At the Boat Show breakfast, Ian Leeson, Development Manager for Yachting South Australia, played a video on the Tackers program and introduced Ashleigh and Thomas to the large audience of politicians and industry leaders.
In 2012, Yachting Australia released the Gemba Report that highlighted the need for the sailing sector in particular to look at new ways to attract people into the sport.
The research was the basis of the Discover Sailing Program that was launched after the London Olympic Games. The program has been embraced through the Tackers initiative at the Adelaide Sailing Club, which has been at the forefront of recruitment of young sailors.
The Tackers program is aimed at children aged from seven to 12. It is presented at three levels starting with beginners and progressing towards greater competence and self-confidence on the water.
Ian Leeson said: 'The great thing about Tackers is that the club provides everything, including the boats, equipment and expert tuition in a perfectly safe and supervised environment.
'The only thing kids have to be ready for is a great day out on the water, learning how to sail, having fun and making new friends.'
The Boating Industry Association of SA (BIASA) is also supporting the Tackers program with General Manager, Glen Jones, stating: 'We want to encourage young people to enjoy life journeys on the water.'
Mr Weatherill said some of his most relaxing and exhilarating experiences had been on boats.
The 2013 Adelaide Boat Show was the biggest for about a decade featuring a huge diversity of latest models, products and services in the pavilions of the Wayville Showground.