AUSTIN, Texas — Through local sailing schools, The American Sailing Association is offering a new program, Operation Vet Sail.

  • ASA is offering a new program to teach vetreans how to sail
  • Program hopes to help veterans reduce stress and anxiety

The initiative teaches former and active military members basic sailing techniques and maneuvers, in hopes of also reducing stress and anxiety, especially for those returning to civilian life.

Retired navy veteran, Roy Pryor, is learning these new skills at Outbound Sailing on Lake Travis. Pryor served the country for 20 years, serving aboard five nuclear submarines.

“You’ve lost that sense of purpose. It drives on you pretty hard because now you no longer have a goal or a mission to constantly strive for,” Pryor said.

Now, Pryor is on a new mission, as the 63-year-old finds solace through sailing. He said for him, the water is calming and peaceful. Once the engine of the sailboat is turned off, the only sounds are the water and the winds.

“All of those things that weigh on your mind, when you’re out here they’re not here anymore, they don’t matter,” he said.

While he is at the helm, Pryor is also responsible for the safety of people aboard the boat, and others around him on the lake.

“It’s also an opportunity to look yourself in the mirror and go, ‘Do I let this define my life, or do I use this to help me hone my skills and get on with my life? I choose to fight,’” he said.