Physically and Mentally Fit - Brigs

Physically and Mentally Fit

Sailing with Brigs is a challenging experience that can be more demanding than a traditional summer camp. 

Trainees do not need any previous sail training experience, but they must be ready and able to understand and act upon instructions given by the crew. 

In order to participate safely, trainees must be physically capable of: 

  • Climbing up and down the ladders to the lower deck, at a reasonable speed, including during rough weather
  • Maintaining safe levels of agility and balance on a moving deck, which may tilt, roll, heave, or be slippery 
  • Hauling lines during sail handling 
  • Swimming without flotation aids

Trainees must be mentally capable of: 

  • Listening and learning from peer leaders, following instructions
  • Maintaining situational awareness around slippery areas, tripping hazards, moving ropes and booms
  • Taking care of themselves in hot weather and rainy weather by wearing proper equipment
  • Stress management. Trainees who struggle to cope adequately with daily stresses in their home environment may be overwhelmed beyond their capacity by the challenges in the Brigs program. 
  • Interpersonal skills. Shy folks are welcome! Brigs trainees should already have basic skills in the areas of collaboration, teamwork, informal conflict de-escalation, and communication. 
  • Prior experience in being away from home/away from family is strongly encouraged

Common challenges include: 

Trainees should be ready to take on a challenging situation. It's not just that hauling on lines is hard work - although it is! Some of the challenges may include: 

  • Dealing with unpredictability in a changing and unfamiliar environment, feeling a loss of control over routines, etc. 
  • New responsibilities: sail handling, furling, cleaning, helping the cook or the bosun, helming. 
  • Homesickness
  • Coping with phobias eg. fear of heights, fear of water
  • Interrupted sleeping conditions
  • Unfamiliar foods 
  • Small and inconvenient washrooms 
  • The discomfort of weather exposure, heat, rain, etc. 
  • Social and interpersonal challenges as trainees integrate with a new peer group while adapting to all of the other changes: navigating peer conflicts. 
  • Lack of privacy/personal space compared to regular expectations


Brigs values inclusion and will work towards providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities where possible. There are circumstances in which we are not able to accommodate individuals if their disability significantly affects their own safety or the safety of others. 

Please speak directly with a Brigs representative if your trainee has any of the following conditions: 

  1. Medical conditions which may require continuing or emergency treatment during the trainee’s voyage, including life-threatening allergies
  2. Medical conditions that require extensive or very precise timing in the administration of the medication
  3. Any disorder or condition that may impair the trainee’s ability to tolerate stress or close living conditions 
  4. Any disorder or condition that may impair the trainee’s ability to learn or understand their training, eg. intellectual and learning disabilities. 
  5. Use of any substance (prescription or non-prescription) which may cause cognitive or functional impairment.
  6. Significantly impaired vision or hearing.
  7. Limited mobility, limited balance, or dizziness. 
  8. Recent exposure or contraction of a contagious illness
  9. Dependence on tobacco, alcohol, nicotine or other addictive substances.