RYA Affiliation FAQs

Why are the requirements for affiliation changing? 

The RYA Strategy, Together on Water seeks to support an inspired, inclusive, and connected community in sailing and boating. We are very aware that the network of RYA affiliated organisations are key enablers to achieve this vision. 

There are now greater expectations on organisations of all shapes and sizes from potential members, regulatory and funding bodies. Therefore, these changes will help our affiliates to meet expectations. We want to make it easier for potential members to identify safe spaces to enjoy being on the water.  

The current RYA Affiliation scheme does not visibly provide a level of assurance to demonstrate what it means to be affiliated to the RYA network. There is also a lack of reassurance for those comparing sailing and boating against the other sport and leisure options available to them.  

Why is this being introduced?

Whilst the RYA has a record of the types of activity undertaken by our affiliate network, we do not have a record of who is participating in that activity. This is becoming increasingly important, specifically around activity that involves children and adults at risk. The introduction of this new affiliation process will allow us to understand who is participating and what our affiliates have in place to support this activity.  

The information provided by your organisation will then allow us to see how we can better support clubs and other affiliated organisations so that they have the most up to date and suitable procedures in place for the activity they deliver. 

What will the requirements be for our organisation?  

The only expectation for 2024 is that affiliates complete the two sets of questions on the new RYA Affiliation Portal by Sunday 31 March 2024.  Once we have this information, we will confirm what actions organisations may want to consider going forward.

We intend to have this information ready by the end of July, however, please bear with us. With over 1,400 very different affiliates it is not a case of one size fits all and each organisation will be different. Any future requirements will be based on the following areas:

  • Safety management
  • Welfare and safeguarding including Criminal Record Disclosure Checks for regulated activities
  • Creating an inclusive environment
  • Complaint resolution

We’ll work with you so together we can create a safer environment for our community. To do this we will be providing up to date guidance and templates for affiliates to access. 

How do we provide our responses?  

To make this process as easy as possible and a benefit to our affiliates, we have invested in a governance platform called 'JustGo' and launched the RYA Affiliation Portal. This platform is used by over 80 national governing bodies, supporting us in providing a simple, proven, easy to use platform.  

Each RYA affiliate has been provided with a unique profile where they can answer questions and find associated information and resources. The portal also offers the ability for you to manage key contacts and store relevant and useful documentation. 

What is the benefit to us and why should we meet these new requirements? 

Over 60% of our affiliates do not have a ‘club management system’. The RYA Affiliation Portal has the additional benefit of being able to store your documents in one place, which is acceptable to all your committee members (subject to permissions).  

It also allows you to let us know the contact details of the different people within your organisation (subject to permissions) who have important roles so that we can contact them with relevant information to support them in their volunteering. For example, your junior lead may be interested in receiving coaching cards from our OnBoard programme. Alternatively, your treasurer may be interested in receiving VAT advice from our VAT expert.  

Our vision is to have a connected, inspired, and inclusive sailing and boating community. As an affiliate you are part of this vision. The information you provide will help us to understand our ‘activity’ landscape and inform us how we can better support you going forward.   

Additionally, this information will be used to reassure the national sports councils that all our affiliates operate in a safe, inclusive environment. In turn, increasing our ability to campaign for the rights of sailors and boaters.  

What are the timescales for the changes? 

From 2024 all affiliates will be expected to respond to a short set of questions each year when they renew their affiliation, to help us identify areas that we should prioritise our support. Depending on the level and type of activity some of these questions will relate to a requirement of affiliation. 

We will confirm with you directly if there are any requirements your organisation will need to comply with. We will support all affiliated organisations with a range of supporting documents and templates to achieve this. 

How do I know if this applies to our organisation? 

All RYA affiliates will be asked to respond to the affiliation questions when they renew each year. The level of requirement is based on the type and scope of activity delivered. 

How do we access the RYA Affiliation Portal?  

The main contact for your affiliated organisation will have been emailed with registration details for the new RYA Affiliation Portal in January 2024. Once your main contact has registered on the portal, they will also be able to grant permission for other key contacts at your affiliate to log in and access your profile. 

If you are the main contact for your organisation and haven’t received the email, please contact the RYA affiliation team.  

What if we forget our RYA Affiliated Portal Login? 

You can contact the RYA directly through our affiliation team for details on how to reset your login 

How many members of our organisation can use the portal? 

The invitation to join the portal has been sent to the main contact that your organisation has provided to the RYA. Once you have followed the sign-up process you will be able to add additional officers, members or staff to the portal.  

What will the RYA do with the information we provide? 

Information will be stored on each club's portal. Only those you give permission to will have access to your portal. The RYA will use the information to support those venues who may need to develop their policies. Additionally, this information will be used to reassure the national sports councils that all our affiliates operate in a safe, inclusive environment. In turn, increasing our ability to campaign for the rights of sailors and boaters. 

What if we don’t meet all the requirements? 

We will confirm with you if anything needs to change, and you will have plenty of time to prepare and access support between now and then.  

What if we do not want to answer these questions? 

All affiliates will be asked to answer these questions every year to renew their affiliation. This will help us to ensure the safety and welfare of our community on the water. In turn, making it easier for potential members to identify safe spaces to enjoy being on the water.  

We hold RYA recognised training centre status, does that replace these requirements?

RYA recognised training centres will already meet many, if not all, of these requirements. It is important to note that we will require all the activity of an affiliate to meet these standards, not just that of the training centre. 

We complete annual requirements list for Sailability – will this replace this? 

Yes, the Sailability checklist has been incorporated into this process, providing one set of questions and parameters for all RYA affiliates. 

We are affiliated through our parent body do we need to meet these requirements? 

The requirements relate to organisations directly affiliated with the RYA, not it’s individual members. In the situation of an association of clubs, such as BUSA, holding RYA affiliation we would only need responses from the parent body. 

What is a safety management system and what needs to be included? 

A safety management system is a proactive approach to managing the safety and risks of activities on the water. We have a series of resources and support available to help develop or review current practices, which are available here and will be covered in more detail at the RYA Connected events.

What is an Equality Policy? 

An Equality Policy is a written agreement outlining how RYA affiliated organisations can avoid discriminating against people. This actively creates a safe and inclusive atmosphere for members, customers, or service users. 

We are open to all, why do we need an equality policy? 

It’s a great step to acknowledge that you are open to all. Equality policies are a great way of making sure that the community within your organisation feels supported. They also ensure that your organisation is in line with anti-discrimination legislation (such as the Equality Act 2010). Equality policies help to prevent discrimination against everybody in your setting, they also provide a platform for concerns to be raised. 

Does the RYA have an Equality Policy template we can adopt? 

Yes, absolutely! You can find the policy templates within the RYA Community Engagement Guide. You can also RYA Equality Team for support with reviewing and implementing equality policies or call 02380 01 2796 (select option 2 for equality). 

What experience or qualification should the person responsible for welfare have? 

We suggest that someone undertaking the welfare role has some knowledge of safeguarding. However, we understand that this may not always be possible. When a new Welfare Officer registers with us they receive a comprehensive information pack. In the pack is a role description, policy templates and useful guidance documents. 

The RYA currently offers an online Welfare Officer course that can be booked by emailing the safeguarding team. The course is available online and costs £18. 

We offer CPD throughout the year to RYA registered Welfare Officers. More information around safeguarding training opportunities can be found on the safeguarding hub.

How do we know if we are responsible for children or adults at risk? 

Clubs offering regulated activities, family memberships, or activities for children and young people, have an added duty of care.  

If you have members who could be defined as an adult at risk or offer activities for people with disabilities or long-term health conditions, you have a responsibility for these groups.  

An adult at risk is defined as ‘anyone aged 18 or over and is in need of care or support, and who, because of those needs, is unable to always safeguard themselves.’ However, any adult can find themselves at risk or additionally vulnerable at any time. Therefore, we would recommend that you have the policies and procedures in place to support all adults.  

Note, that adults at risk in Scotland are defined differently. Full definitions can be found in the RYA’s safeguarding policy.  

Who within our affiliate should hold a criminal records disclosure check?  

Anyone aged 16 years or over deemed to be in ‘regulated activity.’ Regulated activity is defined as teaching, training or supervising children or adults at risk 4 times or more in any 30-day period or overnight. More information can be found on the safeguarding hub

Additional information can be found directly on the home country disclosure schemes at DBSPVG , and AccessNI

How can we get a criminal record check?  

The RYA are umbrella bodies for DBS (disclosure and barring service) in England and Wales, PVG (protecting vulnerable groups) in Scotland and AccessNI in Northern Ireland. 

You can email the RYA team or call 02380 012796 ext 1 for safeguarding team and ext 2 for Inclusion team. 

Who can we contact for more information on disclosure checks and/or safeguarding requirements?  

You can email the disclosures team or the safeguarding team, or give us a call on 02380 012796 Ext 1.

If you have a safeguarding concern or are looking for specific advice, you can also complete the RYA safeguarding referral form

We don’t have adults at risk, do we still need a policy to include them?  

We would encourage all clubs and centres to have policy and procedures in place. It is possible that we could all be defined as an adult at risk at different points in our lives. For example, due to illness, bereavement, and mental health issues etc. We may all need extra support or sign posting to a safeguarding policy and procedure. A policy provides the foundation to offer support and guidance should a concern arise.  

We don’t have a junior membership, but sometimes there are children on site, do we need a safeguarding policy?  

Yes, even if you don’t have children and young people regularly accessing the club, we still recommend you have a policy and procedure in place. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, and the policy will ensure that everyone in the club is equipped with the knowledge and information should they need to use it. A concern may arise with the club from outside of the club activities, which must be acted upon.  

Does the RYA have safeguarding policy templates and guidelines?

Yes, we do. We have created policy templates, procedures, and guidance. The policy statement is designed to incorporate everyone, including adults at risk and children and young people. The procedures consider the nuances between safeguarding children and adults and provide guidance on how to deal with concerns. The policy mirrors the RYA’s own safeguarding policy, and we would encourage clubs to adopt this. The policy is also included in the information pack for welfare officers.  

If you have any questions about welfare and safeguarding including Criminal Records Disclosure Checks, creating an inclusive environment, or complaint resolution please email the affiliation team