Royal Yachting Association (RYA) instructors have today introduced the Transport and Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani MP to the RYA’s training activities and even tempted her onto the water, as part of Maritime Safety Week.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport visited Westminster Boating Base – an independent charity and RYA recognised training centre in central London which teaches dinghy sailing, powerboating, kayaking and canoeing to young people and adults.

While at the RYA training centre, the Minister heard about the RYA’s Sailability and OnBoard programmes from RYA Sailability Manager, Joff McGill. Sailability is the RYA’s national programme enabling people with disabilities to try sailing and take part regularly, whilst the RYA OnBoard programme offers young people the opportunity to try sailing and windsurfing through their local club or centre in a safe, structured and fun environment.

The Minister also learned about the history of Westminster Boating Base from its director Rod Craig before taking to the Thames in an RS Venture dinghy for some expert instruction from RYA instructor Asher Robinson and work experience volunteer Miranda Van Heel (below).

 Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Keeping people safe on the water is at the heart of everything we do, and it’s been fantastic to visit the Westminster Boating Base facility to learn more about the training on offer.

“Maritime Safety Week is a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on the excellent work already being done in this area, and I have been blown away by the passion of the staff training our next generation of sailors.”

Mr Craig and his colleagues were delighted to host the visit and talk about Westminster Boating Base, which is also accredited by British Canoeing. He said: “We were able to put the spotlight on the hard work of our staff and volunteers who deliver high quality watersports training to schools, community groups, adults and young people, many of whom are disadvantaged and hard to reach.”

The Minister also received an overview of RYA training and qualifications from RYA Chief Executive Sarah Treseder, Training Resources Manager Craig Burton and Director of External Affairs Howard Pridding.

RYA Training is the global leader in on-the-water training for small craft, setting and maintaining recognised training standards for both leisure and commercial boating through a network of more than 2,400 RYA recognised training centres, across 58 countries. The internationally renowned RYA training schemes help in excess of 250,000 sailors, powerboaters and users of various small craft develop their skills, build their confidence and generally improve their safety afloat each year. 

Sarah Treseder said: “This was a great opportunity to highlight the importance of the RYA accredited training programmes on offer at Westminster Boating Base and other training centres, as well as promoting the contribution of RYA Training to the safety of those taking part in recreational boating.  

“The RYA training schemes include many vital safety elements, from a basic level, right through to provision of more advanced training for those wishing to sail longer passages, abroad, or to work professionally within the small commercial vessel sector.” 

To start your journey, or to learn more about RYA training courses and qualifications, visit www.rya.org.uk/go/training