One of the attractions of sailing and boating is that people of any age can take part.
The Equality Act allows service providers, private clubs and associations to use age to determine eligibility for concessions and benefits. For example, a club may set a lower subscription rate for cadets or seniors. Age-specific sporting activities are also allowed, to ensure fair competition or the safety of the competitors.
Clubs are often heavily reliant on the commitment, enthusiasm and experience of volunteers in their 60s and 70s. This is not a problem in itself, but there is a concern that younger generations of club members may be less inclined to get involved in volunteering and this could threaten clubs' future sustainability. Clubs should consider what motivates different age groups to volunteer, and whether methods of communication, the amount of voluntary time expected, the timing and frequency of meetings etc can be tailored to meet different needs.
The RYA has received enquiries about older participants who still enjoy boating but who are not as fit or able as they used to be, potentially placing themselves or others at risk. Whilst it would be discriminatory to stop someone from taking part purely on the basis of their age or disability, clubs do owe a duty of care to their members taking part in club-organised activities. A possible solution might be for an elderly or infirm member to team up with a more youthful member, perhaps someone who doesn't have the financial resources to own a boat, so that both can benefit from each other's knowledge and abilities.
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