Yes, and the RYA has a dinghy sailing scheme specifically aimed at children. We don’t specify a particular minimum age since all children are different – our youngest guest on our yacht Cloud Nine was just 3 years old!
However, if children are to take an active part in sailing, they must be mature enough to have developed co-ordination and balance and to understand and follow instructions. In practice this means school-age as a minimum for instruction. Parents are, of course, responsible for their own children and will obviously want to look after them, especially if they are very young.
RYA courses have a minimum age limit of 16 for Day Skipper practical. There is no official minimum age for Competent Crew, however we feel that under 12s are unlikely to get the most benefit from the course. There is also no minimum age limit for the theory courses but as there is a degree of arithmetic involved, again we feel that 11 or 12 is probably the lowest age that will appreciate the course.