Sail Away

Common Sense Media says

Sails, sunsets, no sex in teen Real World.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids from different backgrounds learn to work together; strong environmental message.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that any kid with half a sense of adventure will long to set out for the Bahamas after watching a single episode. Both sexes and kids from a variety of backgrounds work together here with little conflict or judgment.

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What's the story?

SAIL AWAY is a reality series that's well done and perfect for family viewing. Eight 13- and 14-year-olds spend five weeks sailing the seas around the Bahamas with two adults. They learn to sail, cook, work together, enjoy the outdoors, and conquer homesickness, plus get a few lessons in basic environmentalism. The setting is beautiful, the kids appealing and enthusiastic (when they're not battling sunburn and homesickness). All in all, it's a perfect \"reality\" television fantasy.

Is it any good?


In what's become the classic reality tradition, one participant faces some battle -- usually with fear or homesickness -- in each episode. All the kids talk to the camera about the things they're learning -- independence, outdoor skills -- and the fears or struggles they're willing to admit to. The adults talk about what they hope the kids are getting from the experience. Two kids narrate, providing continuity and explanation for younger viewers. Camera confessionals are interspersed between water and beach adventures that will make the entire family long for a Bahaman vacation -- swimming with whales, sleeping on the beach -- and a few that won't -- sailing through the rain, sleeping in tiny boat bunks.

It's not all a picnic, although it is a somewhat whitewashed adventure -- these filmmakers aren't out to take advantage of the kids by lingering on conflicts or highlighting their less-appealing qualities to create a personal growth arc. The kids clearly come from different backgrounds, probably fairly significant differences in some cases, but that's not exploited, either. The kids grow to work together and learn about the environment in a fairly simple way that makes for entertaining family television.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the kids on the show feel about spending five weeks away from their own families -- and whether the kids in your family would like to do the same. What struggle did the featured teen face in this episode? What could have made him or her feel better? Is it OK to give up and go home? When? Some episodes also raise environmental concerns, such as the need to preserve the coral reef, which make good discussion topics.

TV details

Network:Discovery Kids
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-Y7

This review of Sail Away was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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