Councillor Margaret Toner (left) and Councillor Hugh Hunter (right) joined in the fun of the launch.
An enthusiastic crowd watched as the Pride of Prestwick, a coastal rowing skiff built by South Ayrshire Council's Prestwick Academy students along with volunteers from the community, was officially named and launched at Prestwick Sailing Club.
Coastal rowing in St Ayles skiffs, wooden rowing boats, is a relatively inexpensive way of getting people out on the water rowing. The boats comes in part kit form and are built by enthusiasts and customised by painting them in colours relevant to the users.
Pride of Prestwick was built by Prestwick Academy pupils, and community volunteers in partnership with the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine, as part of their participation in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme skills section.
Councillor Margaret Toner, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder for the Council said: "For many years there was a strong band of people in coastal communities around Scotland who rowed in skiffs. Over the last few years, there has been a revival of this sport, with schools and communities around Scotland getting out on coastal waters.
"The students have had the satisfaction of building the skiff and now they will be able to get out on the water, getting exercise in the fresh air, enjoying our coastal scenery and getting an introduction to water sports."
The newest South Ayrshire skiff was launched at Prestwick Sailing Club by the pupils after it was officially named by Shona Lauder, Depute Head Teacher at Prestwick Academy.
Young people involved in the project thoroughly enjoyed the experience:
- We learned from people who had loads of experience working on boats.
- My family were amazed at how good the boat looked.
- Lots of people came to watch the ceremony and I was very proud to be part of it.
- I understood what it meant to be part of a team. I met and worked with people who were older than me and in time became more confident .
- Seeing the boat in the water with the other skiffs was great- it was good fun being out with other people.
- I hope to find an apprenticeship working with wood when I leave school.
Many people gathered and some took to the waters in the skiff during free 'Come and Try' skiff taster sessions that were on offer at the official launch.
Councillor Toner concluded: "Building and rowing the skiff has helped to develop the students' team building skills and foster an interest in watersports. I am sure that coastal rowing will continue to grow from strength to strength in South Ayrshire."