Introduction Paralympic sailing was introduced at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. Since then it has been developing rapidly and an increasing number of individuals in Poland and abroad regularly take part in sports competitions. Currently, disabled athletes can compete in three classes: Sonar, 2.4mR and Skud 18. The review of the Polish and foreign lit-erature does not give a clear indication of the motives for participation in Paralympic sailing. Material and methods The study was carried out on 52 regatta sailors with physical disabilities. Group I consisted of 20 sailors from the Polish National Team. Group II consisted of 32 sailors from 10 European countries. The study was conducted during the National Team camp in Górki Zachodnie and during the European Championships in Switzerland. The Par-ticipation Reasons Scale (PRS - developed by Brasile and Hedrick in 1991) was used in the study. Results Excitement of the activity and an opportunity to improve abilities were rated highest by the disabled sailors from the Polish National Team. In the group of sailors from other European countries, the motives rated highest included the chance to be with friends and challenges related to sailing. Conclusions Sports-related aspects and emotions are the main factors motivating dis-abled persons to practise sailing. If we take into account the needs indicated by the sailors in planning sports activities for people with disabilities, it may contribute to faster development of Paralympic sailing in our country.