The venue for the North East regional final of the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship will be Scammonden Water SC on Saturday 25 August.

Over the last 16 years the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship has seen thousands of young participants honing their skills at the throttle and learning invaluable safety and boat handling skills.

Clubs across the region are now being urged to sign up if they haven't done so already.

Andrew Norton, Powerboat Projects Manager and Event Director, says: “Not only is it a great way to build the confidence and boating skills of the youngsters taking part, it is a great way to drive participation and membership at clubs by introducing new activities to take part in."

The timing of the North East regional final gives clubs the advantage of nearly the whole of summer to fit the RYA Honda Youth RIB challenge into their programme.

There are two age categories - for 8-12 and 13 to 16-year-olds - and the heat at Scammonden Water SC is one of 13 Area Finals where entrants will be competing for a place in the national final at Southampton Boat Show in September, with the chance to win a RIB for their club!

The overall winner’s prize for the younger age group will be a Honwave T40 RIB with a Honda BF20 engine, while the winner of the 13-16 age group will claim a Highfield 460 RIB with a Honda BF50 engine.

Will Baldock, Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship Coordinator for the North East, has a number of top tips for clubs thinking of taking part:

  • No experience needed: Youngsters from aged 8 to 16 can take part and no previous experience is necessary, although confidence on the water is helpful. A competent adult/instructor will be in the boat to explain the controls and ensure a safe environment. For the young competitors it's great fun, as they get to do something out of the ordinary and enjoy being trusted.
  • Where you stand on insurance: Because it is not powerboat racing - it is a programme designed to develop and test RIB driving skills and discipline - it is considered a controlled training activity. As long as the RYA’s Honda Youth RIB and powerboat training guidelines are followed you’re covered.
  • Selling it to the kids: Imagine telling a 10-year-old they can drive a RIB; something that is powerful, done by grown-ups, and that few, if any, of their schoolmates will ever have done. That’s a pretty big hook to a kid! Plus there’s the chance they could achieve something really impressive at area and national level and see themselves in the news!
  • And to your members: Think about the impact on your club if you have both adults and other youngsters seeing their young club mates driving RIBs skilfully and responsibly. It sets a safety precedent and is also huge in terms of your club building up a stock of good young drivers, keeping youngsters involved at your club for longer and marketing your club’s wider reputation as a safe, responsible training venue.
  • Organising a club heat: Some clubs copy the area/national finals format, including timed runs through a replica course; others follow the RYA Level 1 Scheme and choose a promising candidate for further training; or hold a one-off club heat where all the young people attend a single day, learn the basics and have a go at a course, with those chosen then having more time on the water in the run up to the area final. A few clubs have juniors already with powerboating experience who go forward to represent the club.
  • Joining forces: There might be a club nearby which already takes part so you could ask if you can work together for your first year. Some nearby clubs work together to run one joint heat with two representatives from each club going forward to the regional final.
  • Powerboating all year: You could integrate powerboat training for youngsters into your standard club activities, then Honda RYA Youth RIB is just something else they do each year. Candidates as young as eight can do the Level 1 Start Powerboating course with the Level 2 from 12 (all candidates under 16 being issued with an endorsed certificate).
  • Resources: It can be as simple as one powerboat and an instructor. You could take juniors out before/after or between races to cover the basics and build skills up over time or run a one-day event. Training should be in accordance with RYA instructor ratios, practice could be with an adult holding a Powerboat Level 2 certificate.

Will adds: "The Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship is designed to develop powerboating skill and control. Many participants go on to perform key roles in clubs to support training and racing as safety boat crews as well as becoming instructors themselves. The youngsters benefit in different ways too, from building confidence and broadening boating skills to potentially opening up career opportunities. Then there is the small matter of your club also having the chance to win a new RIB and engine!"

Any club/organisation wanting to enter should contact the RYA for an information pack by emailing a contact name, club and postal address to youthrib@rya.org.uk  Clubs are also asked to get in touch by emailing Will with details of their entrants and with regards to any volunteers who may be able to support the running of the regional heat. For more details about the championship and how to take part as a competitor or to get your club involved visit www.rya.org.uk/go/hondayouthrib