HOW COMPETITIVE SAILING HELPS OUR VETERANS
Competitive sailing can be a highly beneficial activity for Veterans, offering a range of physical and mental health benefits that can help them to thrive. Here are just a few ways in which competitive sailing can help Veterans:
Overall, competitive sailing can be a highly beneficial activity for Veterans, helping them to find a sense of teamwork, accomplishment, and purpose. By providing opportunities for Veterans to participate in competitive sailing, US PATRIOT Sailing plays a vital role in supporting the well-being and resilience of our Veterans.
US PATRIOT Sailing's primary activities center upon competitive racing - on sailboats ranging from 19-70ft. For training and inshore racing the program offers access to weekly local club racing series and multi-day weekend regattas. Further, US PATRIOT Sailing looks for opportunities to place Veterans on performance teams when the TEAM is not registered for an event.
PROOF OF CONCEPT
There is some scientific evidence to suggest that sailing and other water-based activities can be beneficial for mental health, including the prevention of suicide. For example, research has shown that participating in recreational activities, such as sailing, can have a positive impact on mental health and well-being, and can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
In addition, studies have shown that participating in physical activity, such as sailing, can have a protective effect on mental health, and can reduce the risk of suicide. Physical activity has been shown to have a number of mental health benefits, including reducing stress, improving mood, and increasing self-esteem.
While the evidence is limited, some studies have specifically looked at the relationship between sailing and suicide prevention in veterans. For example, one study found that veterans who participated in a sailing program reported improved mental health and well-being, and a reduction in suicidal thoughts. Another study found that veterans who participated in a recreational water-based program reported increased social support and a sense of accomplishment, which may have contributed to a reduction in suicidal thoughts1, 2.
Overall, while more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between sailing and suicide prevention in veterans, the existing evidence suggests that sailing and other water-based activities may be beneficial for mental health and well-being, and may help to reduce the risk of suicide. By providing opportunities for veterans to participate in sailing and other recreational activities, US PATRIOT Sailing plays a vital role in supporting the well-being and resilience of our Veterans.
Below are a few unaffiliated efforts in the U.S. and across the oceans - all recognizing the benefit competitive sailing can offer Veterans.
RONNIE SIMPSON (U.S. Disabled Veteran)
2012 Trans-PAC solo winner/ Sydney Hobart veteran: Ronnie Simpson's story and personal accomplishments and goals, epitomize the reasons competitive sailing is a great environment for Disabled Veterans! Ron is currently racing and writing about his journey. Follow him at www.openbluehorizon.com and www.ronniesimpsonracing.com
BRITISH SOLDIER (U.K. - ASA)
2011- British Soldier competed in the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series from the Caribbean, along the East Coast of the USA, plus a trans-Atlantic race and the famous Fastnet race. This endeavor involved 69 serving crew members and covered 11,000 miles.
TOE IN THE WATER - (United Kingdom)
The U.K. program was founded in 2008 and completed its mission in 2015. Toe in the Water was very successful and was directly incorporated into Soldiers rehabilitation treatment as part of the Defense Ministry Medical Treatment. Their positive impact is undeniable!
SOLDIER ON - SAIL (Australia)
The Australian's effort accomplished the "Everest Of Sailing" in 2017 by competing in the Sydney Hobart Regatta. Well Done, Mates!
1 W R Marchand, W Klinger, K Block, S VerMerris, T S Herrmann, C Johnson, E Shubin, S Sheppard, Safety and psychological impact of sailing adventure therapy among Veterans with substance use disorders, August 1st, 2018