The RYA is committed to the principle of equality of opportunity and aims to ensure that all present and potential participants, members, instructors, coaches, competitors, officials, volunteers and employees are treated fairly and on an equal basis, irrespective of sex, age, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, gender reassignment or social status.

Strategic Plan

Inclusivity is one of our core values running through the heart of the RYA Strategic Plan 2017-2021.  We work to ensure boating is accessible and attractive to the widest audience.  We share our expertise and work with partners to embrace diversity. 

Equality Standard

The RYA is the first National Governing Body to achieve the Advanced level of the Equality Standard for Sport, established by the Sports Councils as a benchmark for the governing bodies to whom they provide funding. 

The award of the Advanced Standard recognises the RYA’s commitment to increasing diversity amongst participants in sailing and boating, its staff and committees, and the progress achieved in attaining all four levels of the Standard over more than 10 years.

In meeting the Advanced Level requirements, the RYA has demonstrated that equality is mainstreamed through the organisation’s functions, policies and procedures. In their report, the Sports Council Equality Group panel particularly commended the RYA on the progress achieved in the areas of disability, age and gender. 

The report highlighted a demonstrable increase in the number of women and girls participating in the sport – and significant changes to the corporate governance of the organisation, which has led to wide scale reform of both the Council and the Board of Directors with the intention of becoming far more reflective of the sport and society as a whole.

Board diversity

33%, or three of the nine RYA Board members are female.  One member has a disability and one is from a minority ethnic group. 

Board recruitment

Board vacancies are advertised openly using a wide range of media, including Women on Boards and the Sporting Equals Leaderboard.  Candidates will be shortlisted by the Nomination Committee on the basis of their competences, knowledge, skills and experience, taking account of any gaps in the competences of the remaining members. 

Where there is more than one candidate with a similar range of skills and competences, the Nomination Committee will use positive action with the aim of ensuring that, if at all possible, the shortlist includes suitably skilled women, people with disabilities and people from BAME backgrounds.


Our target is to maintain a position where a minimum of 30% of Board members are from each gender* and ultimately we are striving towards achieving gender parity.

In our Strategic Plan 2017-21 we have committed to increasing the diversity of volunteers (including Board and committee members), participants, instructors, staff and our wider workforce.

We are working on a number of initiatives to encourage more women, people with disabilities and people from black and ethnic minorities to become more actively involved in all aspects of the RYA’s activities.  We have also produced guidance for our affiliated clubs on welcoming transgender participants and people from different ethnic and faith groups.


The RYA conducts regular equality monitoring of all groups (Board, staff, job applicants, members, coaches, instructors, officials, elite squads) against all nine characteristics protected under the Equality Act 2010, in order to set benchmarks and KPIs and track progress.

*Gender will be taken to mean the gender in which the individual identifies.