Facilities guidance

A wealth of knowledge and advice on updating and enhancing club facilities

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Updating facilities and improving access
Facilities guidance notes

This guide is aimed at existing sailing clubs who are considering updating or enhancing their sailing club facilities. It also offers outline advice to local authorities, landowners and developers who are considering building a new sailing club/sailing facility

Improving access

A self assessment tool for clubs and centres providing sailing opportunities who want to consider how accessible their venue and facilities are.

Hoist safety and maintenance

There are many different options for sailors to get in and out of boats and a full assessment of each sailor should be made before deciding that a hoist is the only option.


Planning and the environment

These RYA guides aim to help you navigate the planning process so you can carry out work at your club more easily.

When planning to do works, it is important that coastal or inland clubs and waterside facilities identify the relevant development and environmental consents needed. It is also necessary to think about the process to be followed including timescale, costs and what supporting information is needed to optimise your prospects.

Every development proposal and sailing facility is unique, each government agency does things differently and each local authority has its own particular policy approach to issues. In other words, the planning process is a minefield and there is a lot to consider when putting together a planning application.

RYA Guides to Planning & Environmental Regulations

The complexity of the consenting process can often put people off so the RYA, together with Town Planning Services, has put together a set of detailed guides that should act as a one stop shop to take you through the planning process in the UK.

Specifically tailored guides have been developed for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland so that you can be sure to get advice that is relevant to your country. Available only to affiliated clubs and training centres, the guides cover the main areas of the planning process that are likely to affect you and your works.

For those carrying out developments, the guides will also help identify the permissions and consents that you may need and how best to approach the various processes. These might include larger proposals such as a new club house or boat storage, or smaller works such as car parking, fencing and security lights for example.

The guides also provide advice on other aspects of the planning process, such as commenting on development proposals by others that might affect your club, or making representations to new planning policies that may be prepared.

Download your RYA Guide below:

SSSI Management

If your club or training centre is in a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) you may well be required to develop or be involved in the development of a management plan for the site.

There are over 4,000 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in England, covering around 7% of the country's land area. SSSIs are the country's best wildlife and geological sites and established with the aim to preserve our natural heritage for future generations. Wildlife and geological features are under pressure from development, pollution, climate change and unsustainable land management.

In order for these sites to remain in a pristine condition English Nature advise and help the owners of SSSIs to make sure that these sites are managed in the best possible way. Effective management is essential to conserve the special wildlife and geological features of SSSIs.

DEFRA's guidance on Managing SSSI's clearly states where recreational activities take place on SSSI's, English Nature should liaise with managers to ensure that these can continue in ways that are compatible with the conservation interest.

Contact that RYA planning & environment team here

Government planning portal

Take a look at this useful government planning support tool

Planning for sport

Sport England Support for anyone involved in, or looking to engage with, the planning system in England.

Sport England Facilities and Planning

Advice and support to help ensure everyone has access to high-quality facilities


Occupiers Liability

The aim of this part of the website is to provide some guidance to clubs on the obligations and responsibilities arising from the law on Occupiers Liability.

Members of an incorporated association jointly occupying club premises will be liable as occupiers for any damage caused by the structural condition of the premises. Liability is essentially between the members of the club as a whole and any visitors. There may also be liability for personal injury or damage, due to the defective state of the premises, towards a person who might reasonably be expected to be affected by those defects.

A member may be able to claim damages for loss or damage against another individual member or members who can be shown to be liable for an identifiable negligence, but such a claim would not be rooted in occupiers liability. For example, a member of a club successfully claimed damages for personal injury against the steward of the club, who was also a member and appointed to the role of steward by all the members operating through the committee. The personal injury was caused on a flight of steps, the position of which had recently been changed. A light hung near the steps but had been switched off by the steward. The steward was found to be the agent of every member of the club, appointed to fulfil various tasks including control of the light. The Court held that he had been negligent in fulfilling the task of ensuring the light was switched on. The Court further held that the committee members had no duty imposed on them by that role, as towards the injured member.

Occupiers Liability

Our guide for training centres

Occupiers Liability leaflet

Download our helpful guide

Protecting facilities
Combating theft

Guidance notes to protect clubs from the loss of boats, engines, trailers and other equipment insofar as is possible from the ever-increasing threat of theft of their boat/engine/trailer/equipment etc

Abandoned boats and trailers

Guidance notes for club committees dealing with dinghies abandoned in boat parks or boats left on moorings with no trace of the former owner


Guidance notes on the formalities and practicalities involved if Travellers should trespass onto club land


Managing Asbestos

This section of the website aims to provide guidance to clubs on the control of exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is known to exist in the construction of many buildings. It is now a legal requirement to effectively manage exposure to asbestos containing material (ACM). 

Managing Asbestos

Guidance notes on the control of exposure to asbestos

Health and Safety Executive

A short guide to managing asbestos in premises

Health and Safety Executive

Take a look at the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 here

Thermal Insulation Contractors Association Asbestos Control and Abatement

Find a recognised contractor here

UK Accreditation Scheme

Make sure any contractor is UK accredited here

For further assistance