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ASTO - The Association of Sail Training Organisations - is the UK's National Sail Training Organisation. Our membership is made up of more than 30 not-for-profit organizations that operate more than 50 Sail Training vessels around the UK. ASTO is a registered charity (no. 1083059) and company registered in England and Wales (no.4084476). ASTO's Royal Patron is HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO. ASTO is also a founding member of Sail Training International, with ASTO's Chairman sitting on STI's International Council.

ASTO's mission is to promote Sail Training and to support the UK Sail Training industry. It achieves this in a variety of ways, by:

  • Issuing grants from the estate of Hammond Innes to member organisation to ensure that Sail Training is accessible to all, regardless of age or ability.
  • Providing training to the highest standard for up-and-coming young Sail Training staff through the Skippership Scheme.
  • Administering grants provided by Trinity House, to enable ASTO members to train their sea staff and volunteers.
  • Organising events, such as Small Ships Races,  to help bring Sail Training into the public eye.
  • Working with our international partners to organise and fund International Exchanges for young people that have taken part in UK Sail Training.
  • Working closely with regulatory and governing bodies such as the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) to ensure appropriate levels of training and regulation exist within the Sail Training industry.
  • Acting as a forum for its member organisations to promote the sharing of best practice, and organising an annual conference with this aim.
  • Monitoring compliance with the conditions of membership, which include policies and procedures in addition to those required by the regulatory framework set out by the UK flag. An example of this is child protection or ratios of supervision, and using a voluntary Safety Management System. 

ASTO is pro-active in developing the safety standards within Sail Training and encourages good practice in their member organisations. ASTO also acts as central representative for its members. For example, it has played a part in advising government policy in the production of Codes of Practice for Sail Training vessels.

ASTO is supported in its work by many charitable organisations, including Trinity House, the James Myatt Memorial Trust,  and Sail Training International, amongst others. Pictures on this site are courtesy of

Trustees Annual Reports