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Fishing Gear Incident Reporting and Boat Owner Survey

Poorly Marked Fishing Gear

Fishing gear that poses a hazard to navigation because it cannot be readily seen has been a concern to boaters for many years.  An e-petition placed on gained coverage across the boating press on the subject in recent months.  It called on the Government to improve the way static fishing gear is marked for the safety of all small craft at sea and for Defra to seek views regarding enforceable regulation among other options.

All petitions had to close on 3 May because of the General Election, by then the petition had collected 6,375 signatures. The petitions site will open again as soon as the House of Commons sets up a new Petitions Committee.  However, the problem with a petition is that it can often provoke an emotive response that simply cannot be supported by evidence. In this case it was clear that the number of signatures collected was not as a direct result of the same number of entanglements.

The RYA fully understands that poorly or unmarked fishing gear is a safety risk that is a cause of great concern to our members and boaters wherever they may be and it has been an item on the RYA agenda since at least 2004.  The RYA recently met with Defra to discuss the issue.

Requirements for the marking of fishing gear are summarised on the website. The legislation focuses on the marking of fishing gear for identification purposes and not for collision avoidance, which is the RYA’s main concern.  During our discussions, the Department made it clear that amending legislation would need to be supported by solid data on entanglements that demonstrate that the risk and/or cost is unacceptable.

In order to quantify the size of the problem the RYA has now re-launched its fishing gear form in an electronic version.  We strongly urge all boaters to report sightings and entanglements wherever in the UK they maybe. This will provide a clear picture of where static gear is laid and provide data on the actual number of entanglements.

The RYA Fishing Gear Incident Reporting Form can be reached and shared using the link

Boat Owner Survey to support RYA’s work on Brexit

In support of its work representing recreational boaters during the Brexit process, the RYA needs data on how and where boat owners use their boat.

Thank you to everyone who has completed the Boat Owner Survey.  We have had a really good response but we are keen to get as many responses as possible to the survey.  If you own a boat, please complete our survey to give us details of where you keep and use your boat.

Completing the survey is quick and easy and should take most people less than 3 minutes. The survey is on the RYA website at

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