COVID-19: letter to RYA members from the Chair and CEO

24 Mar 20

We are acutely aware that many of our members, individuals and affiliates alike, are facing significant challenges in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak. The latest guidance from Government, including the advice to only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home), means all boaters will have their activities impacted.

During these unprecedented and difficult times, we would like to update you on the measures we are putting in place during the crisis. As the situation develops, please be reassured that our primary concern is the health of our members, affiliated clubs, classes, recognised training centres, instructors, coaches and volunteers. Our thoughts are with our entire boating community during these challenging times. 

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to keep an eye on our Coronavirus hub for the latest updates and guidance. Don’t forget, we offer a wide range of practical advice and guidance on all aspects of boating – from legal advice, technical guidance, RYA training, and cruising tips – and we are also working closely with the Government to try and find solutions during this difficult period.

Over the last few weeks most boating activity, whether racing, club, or social events has been cancelled. It is unclear when many clubs and centres will re-open and many events later in the season are also in question. Apart from the personal disappointments resulting from these decisions, this presents our member clubs with serious challenges. It is an extraordinary situation which makes the highly successful Dinghy Show at the beginning of the month seem a long time ago.

During the crisis we are endeavouring to continue serving you, our members, in the following ways:

  • We will continue to post regular information messages on our website and in our e-newsletters Our Business Continuity Plan has been implemented so that staff can work from home and continue to respond to members by email and phone
  • We will do everything possible to assist our staff and ensure their well-being
  • The national funding bodies for sport are co-ordinating their responses; we will work with them to ensure your boating interests are represented
  • We will take the actions necessary to assure the financial and operational strength of the RYA in the future

RYA staff are now working from home, where it is possible for them to do so. We have also taken the decision to close the RYA’s buildings over the Easter break (4-19 April) with the majority of staff taking annual leave, as well as implementing the postponement or cancellation of much RYA activity over this period. None of this has been done lightly. But taking small steps now will have a major effect over the longer term.

Although the situation is deeply concerning, we will get through this and look forward to safe and enjoyable boating in the future. In the meantime, please follow the guidance posted on the website and do not hesitate to be in touch with your contacts at the RYA, or ourselves, if we can help in any way.

Chris Preston – RYA Chair

Sarah Treseder – RYA Chief Executive