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Offshore wind energy 

RYA focused on the safety of navigation in and around wind farms

The RYA acknowledges the Government's desire to promote renewable energy, however we are keen to ensure the navigational safety of recreational boating around the coast.   

Over the past twelve years the RYA has worked with the maritime community, notably the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the General Lighthouse Authorities, the Chamber of Shipping, and the UK Major Ports Group in an effort to limit the impact of offshore renewable developments on the navigational rights and safety of recreational boating.    

The result has been the widespread acknowledgement of the importance of navigational safety and regular engagement in the consultation process at the strategic level and on a site by site basis.     

The RYA wants to achieve

  • Avoidance of ‘squeeze’ of recreational craft towards shipping lanes and dangerous coastlines.  
  • Minimisation of ‘diversion’ from the safest and most efficient, habitual and traditional routes.  
  • A minimum rotor tip clearance of at least 22m above MHWS. 
  • Effective marking and lighting of installations.  
  • No operational safety zones from which recreational craft are excluded.
  • Burial of export cables at landfall to maintain a minimum depth below chart datum of 4m and to maintain chart datum where chartered depth are less than this.

The RYA has successfully

  • Built up a position of influence with the Dept. of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), the Dept. for Transport (DfT) and the offshore wind farm developers.
    The developers are not required by law to consult us but in practice we are consulted regularly enabling us to ensure that due account is taken of the interests of recreational craft.   
  • Secured a general acceptance of a minimum rotor tip clearance of at least 22m above MHWS for all wind farm developments.   
  • Stopped developers from establishing permanent operational safety or exclusion zones around wind farms which would prevent recreational craft from making passage through them.
    We have been particularly successful on this point as other countries have imposed tower and entire field exclusions.
  • Ensure that wind farms will be effectively charted and lit.

RYA position

The RYA opposes the imposition of operational safety zones around wind farms.  

The RYA opposes those features of individual wind farms that it believes present an intolerable hazard to navigation but it believes that:

  • the existence of a wind farm in itself does not present an intolerable hazard to navigation 

The RYA opposes wind installations that it considers will have a significant adverse socio-economic impact on recreational boating.  

The RYA believes that the impact that offshore wind farms have on navigational safety for recreational boating can be minimised provided developers fully address navigational safety issues of concern to the RYA.


The RYA is constantly monitoring the developments in Round 3 wind farms and Round 2 extensions and assessing their potential impact on recreational boating. 

We meet regularly with all the developers to discuss recreational navigational safety.

The RYA takes part in Navigational Risk Assessment and responds  to national consultations on behalf of recreational boating.

The RYA is a member of the Nautical and Offshore Renewable Energy Liaison (NOREL) group which works to ensure that the commercial and recreational shipping and ports industries successfully co-exist with the offshore renewable energy industries.

Core policy for Government

Whilst we may have concerns about the locations of some of the Round 3 zones, the development of renewable energy installations is a core policy for Government.

Given that leases have now been granted by The Crown Estate, there is no realistic prospect of varying the areas already allotted for offshore windfarm development. 

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