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    New Membership FAQs


    Why are you making changes to RYA membership?

    We are introducing a new membership model that is clear, simple and compelling. We have introduced four new membership categories based on members boating activities / behaviour – this enables us to build a better understanding of the people who make up our membership and tailor communications, products and services to them.

    What are the changes?

    The changes that will be most obvious to existing members are the new look cards, with a new fresh modern design and the four new 'Categories' of membership:


    For those who have just discovered boating


    For recreational boaters


    For boaters who are members of an RYA affiliated club or association


    For RYA Instructors, RYA race officials, RYA race coach level 2 & 3, commercial endorsements holders, British Youth Sailing Squad and World Class Programme sailors.


    Each category will be distinguishable by a specific colour – Grey for Accredited, Red for Associate, Navy for Personal and Aqua for Pathway.

    The new membership structure will also be mirrored across the RYA website membership pages, membership cards and stickers, and in future membership literature.

    In time, as we build a better understanding of our membership and member’s needs, we will be able to develop more targeted communications based on category choices and we will be better placed to tailor the membership to their needs. 

    When will it be introduced?

    The new look membership will be phased in from September 2016.  RYA Life Members will receive their new look ‘Black Cards’ from the end of August.  Existing members that meet the criteria for the new Accredited category will be moved over to this category from the beginning of September, with the remaining existing members moved in to the new Personal Member category.  Members moved to the Personal member category will be able to move themselves into another category if they feel it suits them better (subject to meeting category criteria).

    For new members the new categories will be available to select from the beginning of September 2016.

    Can I still join online and over the phone?

    Yes, you can join over the phone, online and by post.

    What are the benefits of changing the membership?

    By making the changes to the membership we will have a greater understanding of the people who join and why they are joining.  Over time this will allow us to tailor the products and services we offer, provide them with the most relevant news and information and make it easier for new members to transition through the membership and gain relevant information at every stage of their boating career.  By being attractive to a wider breadth of the boating market we hope to grow membership so we maintain our strong representation and influential position acting on behalf off and in the interest of British boaters.

    Will I still get my boat and car stickers?

    Yes. Initially we will be issuing existing members their new look car/boat stickers at shows, events and conferences, and we are working on a way to issue them with your new membership card when you renew in the future.

    How do I determine what discounts apply to me across the member reward partner offers? 

    As well as your membership category – Accredited, Associate, Personal or Pathway you will also have a membership type – Family, Adult, Under 25 or Under 18.  This will determine what reward partner discounts would apply to you.

    • Pathway / Personal / Associate – for all Family, Adult, Under 25 and Under 18 Members
    • Gold – for all members who have reached gold member status
    • Accredited – all members in the Accredited category

    Gold and Accredited members will receive enhanced discounts.

    Will I still receive all the same benefits I did before?

    Yes, you will still receive all the same benefits of membership as you have always enjoyed such as access to free specialist and technical advice or money saving offers from the RYA’s 80 plus member reward partners.  Gold and Accredited members also have access to additional discounts and offers from RYA reward partners.


    When will I receive my new look card – existing member?

    All existing members will be moved over to the new membership categories from 01 September 2016.  Life members will receive their new cards in August, whilst all other members will be re-categorised from 01 September and will receive their new cards at renewal date.

    What does the ‘membership type’ mean on my card?

    The membership type on your card indicates whether you joined as a family, an Adult (individual) or if you are Under 25 or Under 18.  This information alongside the category that you sit in will determine the type of communications and information you receive from the RYA and the discount and offers you are eligible for from over 50 RYA member reward partners.  The type will also determine the price you pay for your membership.


    Will this affect the price of our membership – more or less?

    In general this will not affect the price of your membership.  There is only one change to the pricing structure. We are amalgamating the Youth and Junior categories in the one Under 18 membership type.  This will mean that Junior membership (for those Junior members who are not part of a Family membership) will increase by £5 per year, an increase of approximately 42p per month. There is no change to any other membership type price.

    Are the prices different depending upon the category?

    The price of your membership is not determined by your category, it is determined by the type of membership you purchase – Family, Adult, Under 25 or Under 18 and whether you decide to pay in full or by Direct Debit. 

    Membership prices as at 01 April 2020


    Under 18

    Under 25



    By Direct Debit or Card Online





    By Cash or Cheque






    Family = Two adults and any children under 18


    As an existing member how do I know what category I fit in?

    When we move over to the new membership format in September existing members will automatically be designated in to one of three categories – Life members, Accredited and Personal, based on the existing information we have for each member.  Once you have been allocated your category you can choose to change that category depending upon your preference. To do this, simply sign in to your RYA account.

    Each category will clearly indicate the criteria associated to it making it easy for you to determine which category you’d like to be in.

    • Accredited – Instructors, Race Coaches Level 2+, Race Officials, Commercially endorsed boaters, RYA Squad members
    • Associate – Any boater who presently is a member of an RYA Affiliated Club or Class
    • Personal - For all recreational boaters and windsurfers
    • Pathway – Those who are or have just started their boating journey, including, Start Sailing 1-3, just back from their first sailing holiday, enjoyed an RYA taster event (Push the Boat Out, OnBoard, Team15)

    Will I be told what category I go or can I choose?

    We will firstly allocate you a category determined by the information we hold on you. You can of course change category if we haven’t got this quite right as long as you meet the criteria of that category. 

    What do I do if the category you give me is incorrect – what do I do?

    Initially all existing members will be put in to one of three categories – Life, Accredited or Personal.  Life and Accredited members will only be placed in these categories based on the information we hold on our system.  Members who do not match the criteria for these two categories will all be put into the Personal Member category.

    If you do not wish to remain in the Personal Member category and feel one of the other categories better suits you then you can switch to an alternate category.

    The date you need to change your membership category by will be determined by the month of your membership renewal.  You need to let us know by the 1st day of the month of your membership subscription is due of any changes.  For example, you will have until 01 October to change to a new category if your membership is due for renewal in October.

    If you do not change to a new category before that date you will receive your allocated category card and will not receive your new category card until your next renewal date.

    How do I find out what category to choose?

    If you are new to the RYA the details of each category will be clearly outlined in membership literature and on the RYA website (Membership landing page).  Of course if you have any queries about which membership category you should choose you can speak to a member of our helpful RYA Membership Team.

    I am already a member of an RYA affiliated club why do I have to take our affiliated RYA membership as well – aren’t I paying twice for the same thing?

    It is a common misconception that if you are a member of an RYA Affiliated club you are automatically a member of the RYA.  Unfortunately that is not the case, they are both very different, independent offers and you will not have access to the benefits of RYA membership. 

    The benefits of individual membership to the RYA are very different to the benefits a club receives via its affiliation.  By introducing the Associate membership we hope to encourage more club members to join the RYA in their own right and take advantage of the benefits on offer for individual members.

    Can you choose any category?

    Yes (subject to meeting any specific criteria for that category).  If any time you wish to change your membership category you can simply login to your account and make the relevant change or contact our membership team by email or telephone and we can make that change for how.  However if you are not making the change at renewal you will not receive your new category card until the time of your next renewal.

    When will I find out what category you have assigned me to?

    All existing members will be advised of their new membership category in their renewal notice (starting in September for October renewals).  Your renewal information will also include instructions of how to change your category.

    What if I fit in two / multiple categories – can I be in two/multiple categories?

    It may be that based on the criteria of each category you fit in to multiple categories.  It will be up to you which you choose as your preferred category.  However if you are having difficulty choosing the best category for you, you can call our membership team and we can help guide you through the details of each category to determine the best one for you.

    However, if you hold the correct criteria for the Accredited membership you will automatically be moved to this Category at the point of renewal.

    Can I change my category online – is there a charge if I switch category before my renewal date?

    Yes you can change your category online.  Login to our account details and choose your preferred category.  There is no charge for changing your category however you will not receive your new category card until the time of your renewal.

    I’m joining as a Family/we’re Family members, how does it work if we’re all in different categories?

    The new model has been designed so that each family member can select their own membership category.  For example, if Dad is an RYA instructor he can join in the Accredited category, daughter is a member of the local sailing club, she can join as an Associate member and mum is new to boating, she can join as a Pathway member.


    There doesn’t seem to be a Youth or Junior category?

    Although there is no specific category name for junior members anymore, the membership type will denote their junior status ensuring they continue to receive the age appropriate communications and benefits.

    Why has Junior membership increased?

    We are amalgamating the Youth and Junior categories in to one Under 18 membership type.  As a result of this, Junior membership will increase by £5 per year, an increase of approximately 42p per month.  Our Junior members will still get their annual activity book and Ahoy newsletters.


    As an instructor will I still be entitled to the exclusive instructor offers / discounts?

    Absolutely there will still be exclusive offer and discounts for Accredited members.

    Why don’t instructors have a stand-alone category anymore?

    Instructors will now sit within the same category as other key industry professionals including commercially endorsed boaters, Race Officers and Coaches.  Research found that having an ‘Instructor’ only category didn’t add any real value to Instructor Membership, but instructors did wish to have their professional qualifications recognised.

    How do you know I have all the relevant qualifications to be an Accredited Member?

    We have instructor, race officials, commercial endorsement and race coach level 2+ qualification records on our files and will use this information to determine if you meet the criteria.  Squad Members will soon be added to our records to enable all sectors within this membership category to be verifiable. This is why it is important to ensure all your information is up to date.

    Do I have to prove my credentials to become an Accredited Member / how do I do that?

    Yes you will need to meet the specified criteria to become an Accredited member.  We will use the information we have on file to determine if you meet the criteria.  If you believe any relevant information is missing then please contact the RYA Certification team.



    Will I still get my additional Gold member benefits / will I still get my gold card?

    Gold members will continue to receive their additional Gold member benefits and a new-look gold card.

    When do I become a Gold member?

    Gold membership has been awarded to members with continuous five years of membership. From the 01 January this changes to ten years continuous membership.

    Why have you changed the Gold membership criteria?

    The decision to increase the number of year’s continuous membership in order to achieve Gold member status will ensure the exclusivity of Gold membership. Many of the existing Gold members (56,000) believed that 5 years was too short of time to demonstrate ongoing support to the Association.



    What changes are happening for Life Members?

    At present there are four different versions of Life member cards in place.  From September all Life members will be presented with a new ‘Black and Silver’ membership card.  Over time we will work on developing additional exclusive offers and benefits for our Life members.

    Do I get additional benefits as a Life Member?

    The existing additional benefits enjoyed by life members will continue under the new membership model.  Life membership immediately qualifies you for Gold membership status.  Life members also enjoy:

    • Enhance offers from member reward partners Bishop Skinner
    • Exclusive boat and car stickers
    • Free fast track certification service
    • Enhanced discounts on marine clothing and accessories
    • Enhanced RYA credit card and currency Travelcard benefits
    • Enhanced offers on RYA regalia alongside all the benefits afforded RYA Gold membership.




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