RYA legal manager Mandy Peters told club representatives at the RYA Cymru Wales Club Affiliate Conference in Milford Haven why they need to keep membership personal data safe.  

She explained about the new general data protection legislation which is coming into force next May which will affect member details kept by clubs. 

“This will apply to all clubs in all regions and my understanding, from talking to people, is that most clubs are not aware of it,” she said 

“It is especially important to be here to give people the run down on it. 

“We have a data protection act which has been in force for the last 20 years, the new regulation is not massively different – if you are compliant with the current legislation it is a short hop to go over to the new one.  

“My experience is that most clubs are not currently compliant and so they have quite an uphill struggle to make sure they are compliant with the regulation when it comes in.  

“If you do not then the fines are substantial under the new legislation, up to £20 million – that level would not be applicable to our clubs, but it could still be a lot of money.” 

Peters was talking to some of the 24 club representatives from across South and West Wales at the conference in Pembrokeshire Yacht Club. 

“It is really important they get to grips with it and start doing a data audit of what they have, how they got that, did they get permission, do they need it, how they use it, what they do with it,” she said. 

“The club conferences are at the right time to get this message across, so they are very useful. 

“Clubs often look terrified, but they recognise it is really important to do something about it - which is a good thing.  

“What is interesting is that it applies to all of us, it is about enhancing our individual rights over our data. When you look at it from that perspective, and not from a club commodore or club secretary perspective, it makes you feel differently about it. 

“A club commodore may think this is something else to do, a bit of a pain, whereas if you have your personal hat on you may think it is your data and you want it protected.”