Coastwatchers & Marine Planning

Information for coast watchers.

What we do

We represent you by responding to government consultations and marine licence applications and by taking part in liaison groups with the statutory agencies, Marine Scotland and with the Scottish Parliament. The Cruising and General Purposes Committee is charged with overseeing these tasks. Most of the work is carried out by volunteers who operate to professional standards providing objective evidence in support of or against developments. RYA Scotland has a network of Coastwatchers who each look after a section of coast. They are attached to the Cruising and General Purposes Committee and work with the Planning and Environment Officer.

You can find out more about what we do in the About Us section.

Coastwatcher guidance

What you can do

If you have concerns about developments in your area please contact the office at

Although we are informed about marine developments, this is not the case with land-based planning applications and Local and Strategic Development Plans and we rely on members telling us about any contentious ones so we can provide an appropriate response. Clubs and indeed individual members are encouraged to respond themselves, ideally copying RYAS into the response.

Marine Planning

Scotland has had a marine plan since 2015 and it has already been reviewed once. It covers all the waters out to 200 nautical miles.

In addition there is a progressive development of Regional Marine Plans which extend to the 12 nautical mile limit and amplify the National Plan to take account of local circumstances. Both the Clyde Regional Marine Plan and the Shetland Islands Regional Marine Plan are in the final stages of development, the latter building on earlier non-statutory plans. RYA Scotland is a member of the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership and has commented on the Shetland Plan. The Orkney Islands Marine Planning Partnership is at a much earlier stage of plan development. Planning for some other Marine Regions is likely to start later this year.

Members of the RYA are strongly encouraged to take part in local consultations. 

Dr G Russell
RYA Scotland Planning and Environment Officer

Last updated 1 May 2020