The maritime training charity has received the royal seal of approval for its plans to redevelop its site at Cowes on the Isle of Wight

The Cowes-based UKSA has announced plans for expansion as it celebrates its 30th year.

The charity, which offers maritime training opportunities for young people, has announced a four-year capital investment programme which will see changes and improvements to its site.

The first phase will see the construction of a new accommodation and training facility, which is scheduled to begin in October 2018.

The UKSA said currently its four main dormitory buildings are only ever half-full, partly because strict safeguarding regulations means groups of young people need self-contained accommodation. It said the new accommodation would enable it to teach more young people, as well as giving it the flexibility to train more professional clients, youth groups and young apprentices at the same time.

Princess Anne in a green dress standing on a podium at the UKSA birthday celebrations

HRH Princess Royal helps the UKSA mark its 30th year. Credit: UKSA

Further details about the programme will be released in the future.

The charity’s patron, HRH Princess Royal, gave the Royal seal of approval the UKSA’s plans when she attended the charity’s 30th anniversary celebrations at Trinity House in London.

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HRH Princess Royal encouraged the 200 guests to support the project.

‘In the long term it is so important that the site is improved, and it is the opportunity for you to help make the difference to young lives. In order to be able to spread the ability to encourage, to teach, we need to supply the appropriate levels of accommodation,’ said HRH Princess Royal.

The project is also being supported by Ian Walker, double Olympic medal winner, reigning Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper, and RYA Director of Racing, who also attended the celebration.

Young sailors dressed in shirts, trousers and ties

Some of the UKSA students who attended the party. Credit: UKSA

‘UKSA’s contribution to the sport of sailing is immense, but their contribution to the lives of so many young lives is even greater. Giving opportunities within the sport to young people in need is immeasurable,’ he said.

‘Right now the UKSA site is, unfortunately, under-utilised due to age and changes in regulations – so with this investment they will be able to provide their charitable works to so many more people,’ added Walker.

Since it was founded in 1987 by Noel and Sylvia Lister, the UKSA has trained 150,000 people.