The Minister for Maritime, Robert Courts MP, today (07 July) visited the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre in London. The visit comes during Maritime Safety Week (5 - 9 July), an annual event that seeks to recognise the excellent safety work across the maritime sector, as well as shining a light on the significance of continually sharing knowledge and best practice in the area. The Minister was briefed by Royal Yachting Association (RYA) representatives on the extensive range of courses delivered by RYA Training, which caters for every type of boating activity, and the Association’s role in promoting recreational boating safety.
Whilst at the RYA recognised training centre, Mr Courts discussed the importance of recreational boaters getting trained before heading out onto the water. Commenting on the benefits of getting afloat and the importance of training, Robert Courts MP, said: “As we continue to remove restrictions, we’re expecting more people to head to our beautiful coasts and take to the water for a whole range of activities.
“The sessions being held by RYA mean people from across the country will be able to access vital training courses, allowing them to have fun while being safe and confident in the water.”
RYA representatives took the opportunity to brief the Minister on the wider work that the RYA does to promote safe, responsible, and sustainable recreational boating, including significant initiatives to address sustainability and diversity issues. Earlier this year the RYA launched its Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy, and whilst at the Centre the Minister heard about the work that the RYA was doing to ensure that the sport was promoting a welcoming and inclusive culture.
Commenting on the significance of raising awareness of key safety messages amongst recreational boaters, Sarah Treseder, RYA CEO, said: “We have welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Minister today and talk about all that the RYA does to support sport and recreational boating. We have experienced the most difficult of years when the RYA has worked tirelessly to represent our members and affiliated clubs to ensure a safe and Covid-secure resumption of boating activity.
“Raising awareness surrounding safety on the water is vitally important at this time when lots of people are enjoying getting afloat again. We very much welcome the Minister’s announcement this week that the Government will be boosting funding for maritime safety campaigns.”
Set amongst the backdrop of Canary Wharf’s skyscrapers, the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre is one of more than 2,400 RYA recognised training centres located across the globe, offering training courses for every age, ability and interest. The Centre itself offers courses in a range of watersports, including, sailing, canoeing, windsurfing and paddleboarding.
The Minister’s visit coincided with on-water lessons for children from local schools. During the visit, the Minister was delighted to take up the offer to join the RYA instructors for a taster session out on the water and join the children learning to sail.
The Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre were thrilled to host the Minister’s visit. Following many months of closure due to Covid, Simon Conway, Chief Instructor at the Centre, said it was fantastic to be able to welcome visitors back onto the water again: “After the initial lockdown was lifted, we have seen a huge rise in the amount of people looking to get out on the water and use our facility. This is clearly great for everyone's mental and physical health as well as great for the Centre too.”