The RYA has today (Wednesday 28 June 2023) launched its Together on Water strategy, celebrating the passions and benefits of being on the water and advocating opportunities for all to find and enjoy their place among the UK’s boating communities.
Coupled with a refreshed new brand identity, ‘Together on Water’ sets out how the RYA will work in partnership to connect more people than ever, from all locations and backgrounds, with everything the water has to offer.
This long-term vision will see the RYA’s work extend further than ever before to help more people feel welcome, included and inspired to discover and safely develop their skills.
‘Together on Water’ was developed following extensive consultation across the sailing and boating sector, and is driven by the RYA’s renewed purpose of positively impacting people's lives through inspiring, creating and supporting a safe environment to enjoy the benefits of being on the water.
The new strategic vision comes off the back of learnings during the Covid pandemic, which saw millions of people from across the UK trying out new water-based activities.
However, this has not yet led to a sustained increase in participation and, beyond those enjoying initial taster experiences, more regular boaters display relatively low demographic diversity. Dinghy racing has declined over time and club numbers remain static.
The RYA is determined to address these trends and to evolve against the backdrop of an increasingly fast-paced, choice-rich, time-poor society.
‘Together on Water’ will break down barriers and perceptions around sailing and boating, open up to new audiences and showcase the positive impact watersports can have on health, well-being and in protecting our connection with nature.
The focus will be around six core outcomes, around which an annual impact report will be produced to measure progress:
An environment where everyone feels welcome, safe and valued
More people are inspired to explore and learn through being on the water
More people stay involved in sailing and boating for longer, growing their commitment over time
A leading voice for sailing, boating and related matters nationally and internationally
Collaborate and align efforts with partners to create greater impact
Meaningful reduction in our impact on climate and biodiversity while inspiring positive action by others
The RYA will continue to support its excellent network and work with sector partners to help them to be ready for the future, understand the role they can play, and be part of the journey.
RYA CEO Sara Sutcliffe MBE said: “I’m delighted to be launching ‘Together on Water’ today, which sets out the RYA’s vision for the future of sailing and boating as a connected, inspired and inclusive community.
“We firmly believe that everyone deserves the opportunity, and encouragement, to enjoy being on the water and to do so in a safe environment. That’s both in terms of physical and technical safety through education and skills development, but also in creating inclusive cultures where everyone can find their place and feel they belong.
“It’s not a quick fix, but we are determined to break down barriers and open up our world to everyone with an interest in the blue spaces, sports and pastimes we’re so passionate about.”
Sara continued: “We are building on fantastic foundations but we can never take that for granted. We have a duty to look forward and ensure we evolve and remain relevant both to our membership but also society more broadly.”
RYA Chair Chris Preston added: “This is a strategy for everyone – members, volunteers, clubs, centres, staff – everyone participating on the water.
“We’ve built upon the history, the strengths, success and traditions of the RYA; but our vision also addresses what is increasingly required both in terms of meeting needs in our sport and in changing behaviour across sport and society.
“Most of all, it’s designed to enable all communities to take part enjoyably, safely and responsibly, Together on Water. But we can’t do this alone – we’ll need our members and our dedicated network and partners to help bring this vision to life so that more people can share in the joy, relaxation and excitement we know the water offers.”
Join us online for RYA Live at 7.00pm on Wednesday 28 June, as we delve into the detail of our new vision with host Dee Caffari, RYA CEO Sara Sutcliffe and Director of Sport Development Rob Clark.