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Supported by Trinity House

Captain’s coming

Warm up for a day on the water and learn some sailing terminology in this energising game.

You will need

  • Space to run around in
  1. One member of the group is the captain, who will call out the commands. Everyone else should stand in the centre of the space, ready to respond to the commands with the appropriate action.
  2. Everyone should practice the captain’s commands:
    • Bow: run to the front of the playing space
    • Stern: run to the back of the playing space
    • Port: run to the left side of the playing space
    • Starboard: run to the right side of the playing space
    • Get in the boats: sit down on the ground
    • Captain’s coming: stand to attention and salute
    • Climb the rigging: mime climbing a ladder
    • Man overboard: hug the person next to you
  1. Once everyone knows the commands, play the game until everyone is warmed up with heart rates raised.
  2. For anyone working towards Stage 3 of their Sailing Staged Activity Badge, check out some more sailing terms below that you could add into the game. 


This activity was about being active and getting ready to go out on the water. Why do you think it’s important to warm up your muscles before doing a physical activity? Can you think of any other good ways to warm up before a session of sailing? Did you learn any new sailing terms during the game that could be useful when you’re out on the water?


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.