A letter of thanks to our volunteers

To mark the start of National Volunteering Week we share a letter of thanks from Chris Preston, RYA Chair
01 Jun 23

Woman helming safety boat

Our sport, and the many organisations which allow us to enjoy our beautiful coastal and inland waters, depend on thousands of volunteers to whom we owe a huge thank you.

Volunteering comes in many forms- from all kinds of wonderful people. As I visit clubs and centres, I’m constantly seeing the hard work and enthusiasm from volunteers. These people donate their time whether instructing, supporting those less advantaged, or simply assisting in the background to ensure facilities remain safe and welcoming.

Every year we publicly celebrate around 50 people at the RYA Volunteer Awards, but we know they are just a fraction of everyone deserving recognition.

From driving safety boats and running events, to the perhaps less exciting roles such as serving on committees and boards, our clubs, centres and the RYA itself, simply could not function without the effect of those who selflessly put others first.


I’d like to take this opportunity to formally thank everyone who contributes as a volunteer and to encourage others to consider getting involved.

My personal contribution as (volunteer) RYA Chair is, like the rest of the non-executive directors on the Board, an opportunity to give back and use our professional experience to support RYA staff and members.

I’m a passionate believer that sports and particularly activity on the water, are an important part of community life, creating opportunities and giving self-confidence. The effects on mental well-being, both for participants and volunteers should also not be under-estimated. And not forgetting that it’s often great fun in good company.

This National Volunteers Week, I also ask you to take time to personally thank any volunteers you meet. Although we give our time because of the impact we hope to make, a little thanks and recognition can mean an awful lot.


Thank you once again to all our volunteers. We depend on you and appreciate your great contribution.

Chris Preston, RYA Chair

Get started in volunteering

Find out more about volunteering and how to support others to get out on the water.