Laws & Regulations

A number of RYA guides on topics from fire regulations to VHF Radio, from music licences to the storage of petrol

Fire regulations

Clubs must be aware of their responsibility in relation to fire safety. Here we look at the the law relating to fire safety which came into force on 1st October 2006.

Firearms Regulations

Here we provide guidance on some of the rules pertaining to the current firearms regulations, and relates primarily to the carriage of firearms on-board a recreational boat, and to the use of starting cannons. In the UK it is very unusual for recreational boaters to carry firearms. However some people do still carry Very pistols, and it is important for such people to understand the legal requirements. The Home Office have published police guidance that you may find of use.

The Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform is responsible for import and export of firearms.

Carriage and Storage of Petrol and Diesel

Further information detailing the legal restrictions on carrying and storing petrol and diesel in the UK can be found in the Guidance below.

Lotteries and The Law

The aim of this section of the site is to provide some guidance to clubs on the running of lotteries, auctions and raffles. From Saturday 1st September 2007, all gambling in Britain (except spread betting and the National Lottery) is subject to the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005. The Act introduces a new, unified regulator for gambling in Great Britain, the Gambling Commission, and a new licensing regime for commercial gambling (operated and regulated by the Commission or by licensing authorities, depending on what is being licensed).

We have updated advice to clubs in light of the new Act.

Fruit Machines

Under The Gambling Act 2005, any club or similar establishment having gaming machines on it's premises must obtain registration for the use of the machines from its local licensing authority. The Act also provides that no person may sell, supply or carry out maintenance on gaming machines unless he or she holds a valid certificate or permit issued by the gaming board. Any club which intends to install gaming machines on its premises or which already had them must ensure that the supplier or maintainer had a valid certificate.

Music Licenses

Many clubs may not be aware that if they are playing music publicly they require a music licence from PRS for Music (PRS) and also from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL).  Here we explain the rather complicated system and new 'joint tariff'.

RYA Affiliated Clubs - PRS Concession

We have been advised, by PRS, that when a club first contacts PRS to obtain a licence, unless the club is newly formed, PRS usually impose the higher royalty rate charge for the first year of the licence. The second and subsequent year's fees will be based on the standard royalty rate charge, which is approximately 50% of the higher royalty rate. We have managed to negotiate a concession from PRS, who have confirmed that they will offer the standard royalty rate to any RYA affiliated club that contacts PRS to arrange for a licence. This concession will not be available to clubs that PRS contact nor will it provide any protection from back-dating a licence.

Copyright & Libel Issues

In this section we look at how copyright and libel issues may affect clubs.

VHF Radio Regulations        

 This section of the site contains guidance providing clubs with information on the VHF Radio Regulations.

Licensing Act 2003

Liquor law underwent a major change with the passing of the Licensing Act 2003. This section of the site aims to offer guidance on the Act's application to clubs. To that end we have produced a detailed Guidance notes on the Act. 

Alcohol Wholesale Registration Scheme

The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) introduced in 2017 aims to minimise alcohol duty fraud and the supply of counterfeit goods.  The Scheme requires any business trading or selling alcohol in wholesale volumes to be registered. It is an offence for a buyer carrying on a trade or business that will supply alcohol in the course of that trade to purchase controlled liquor wholesale from un-registered suppliers.  We have produced Guidance on the Scheme to help you understand your responsibilities under it.

Smoking Ban

In this section of the site we look at the ban on smoking in public places and the effect it may have on your club.

Illegal Immigration by Vehicle

The aim of this section of the site is to provide Clubs and Class Associations with advice on preventing illegal immigration. From time to time Clubs and Class Associations may attend events outside of the UK.  Members/volunteers may be asked to tow boats to and from such events.  Illegal immigrants are known to attempt to gain unauthorised entry into the UK by hiding in vehicles and it is therefore important that those towing boats on behalf of Clubs/Class Associations are aware of the law on this. We have produced a Guidance Note setting out the law in this area. 

Food Safety Act

The Food Safety Act provides a framework for food safety legislation throughout the food chain, all foods, food ingredients, and material that come into contact with food. All food businesses are covered, and includes all private members clubs.  The main provisions of the act came into effect on 1st January 1991 with a number of associated regulations being introduced during 1991. The Act provides for registration procedures with the local authority, basic training for food handlers, the handling and storage of hot and cold food, and the serving of improvement notices or emergency prohibition orders. The implications for any club serving any sort of food are considerable, both administratively and in the purchase and maintenance of proper storage facilities. For full details please see Health, Safety, Food Hygiene and Equipment section. 

If, after having read through this section, you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the Legal Team on   023 8060 4223   or Email: