PTSD Recovery Through Sailing

With the epidemic of drug addiction, alcoholism and mental health concerns in the United States and worldwide, new healing modalities are gaining attention and respect. Turn to Starboard, is a program offered in Great Britain for the benefit of war veterans suffering from PTSD. According to Nic Compton, writing for WoodenBoat magazine, Turn to Starboard specializes in teaching sailing to mentally and physically injured ex-military personnel.

The former Royal Air Force (RAF) medic Shaun Pascoe, who witnessed the horrors of war over the course of 16 years in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Iraq, came up with the idea. While receiving treatment for PTSD, Pascoe began studying for a sailing qualification. He immediately felt the benefits of being on the water. He says he couldn’t have gotten through the standard treatment without knowing “in a few days later I’d be out sailing with a couple of guys.”

When Pascoe left the RAF on disability, he used his resettlement funds to set up Turn to Starboard, a charity to help military veterans adjust to their lives as civilians. His charity received incredible backing. In 2014, a trust fund awarded Turn to Starboard with a 91’ sail-training ship, Spirit of Falmouth. The ship has not been adapted for those with disabilities, nor does it offer therapy. The skipper says the, “the boat does the counseling.”

Since September 2017, the organization has taken 1,000 veterans sailing. Pascoe relates the positive effects as profound. It’s about being on the sea and seeing that the world is huge, so your problems don’t seem as big. It’s also about giving back and helping others.

A great deal of skill is required for sailing. When you are sailing you have to pay attention to the wind velocity, wind direction, currents, tides, the weather, safety, handling the boat efficiently, knots, rules of the road, seamanship, technology, and equipment. Sailboats are powerful crafts that harness the wind to propel you forward. Sailing can be intense and dangerous. It can also be a peaceful and serene experience. Learning to sail can build your confidence and your sense of yourself in the world.

Sailing programs for veterans in the United States, include Warrior Sailing Program, Outward Bound Florida Keys Sailing for Veterans, Sail to Prevail, and Wounded Veterans Retreat Adaptive Sailing Program. In this country alone, there is an overwhelming need to help veterans, veterans with disabilities, and those with addictions to have a better life. Find a way to participate and help these men and women who need more than prescribed medicines.

Located in the iconic Malibu, California, Infinity Malibu offers residents the opportunity to be healed by the natural environment and all of the adventures it has to offer. Call us today for information on our luxury private residential treatment programs. Infinite change awaits you: 888-266-9048

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