Demand for support, advice and resources from The Green Blue has never been stronger, with a heightened interest from the recreational boating community in how we can be part of the solution to minimise our plastic pollution and other impacts boating may have on our environment.

Working with The Green Blue, RYA Scotland wants to raise awareness of how boaters in Scotland might set a course for a sustainable future starting with a few basics.


Think about your own rubbish!

Best starting place is reducing the amount we take afloat. Remove as much excess packaging as you can before you go out on the boat and always prevent plastic bags, drinks cans and loose items from blowing overboard.

If litter does find its way over board, then use the opportunity to practice your man over board procedure. You can also set an example to your crew by not throwing any litter (including biodegradable waste) overboard and by investing in biodegradable rubbish bags. They break down in 12 to 18 months rather than up to 500 years.


Help take care of our beaches

Fresh air, community spirit, a sense of accomplishment and a tangible difference to your local beach helps to protecting the environment and is rewarding and bring together like-minded people with a love for the sea. By participating in local beach clean-ups, you’ll be supporting the thousands of volunteers who have joined the rubbish revolution to help keep our beaches litter-free.

In Scotland there are many excellent initiatives which bring together communities and also add some citizen science to the problems of marine litter, including identifying frequently discarded items and using this data to effect policy change and industry guidelines. Fidra, based in North Berwick, can directly attribute beach clean surveys to manufacturers changing their products to have less impact on the environment, how cool’s that!

From Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Spring Clean Event to The Big Spring Beach Clean organised by Surfers Against Sewage or other charities such as the Marine Conservation Society which run The Great British Beach Clean, all the events are open to the community to pitch in and make a difference to our coastlines.

Within the data driven aspects of science driving change there have been some excellent examples including those taking to the skies with mapping projects like Scrapbook, or the more targeted Upstream Battle heading to the major cause of marine litter on the Clyde. There is even the family who started Action Optimist.  What can the water users of Scotland do to create positive change?


At our recent club conference, Nairn Sailing Club demonstrated a great example of the club assisting in the beach clean of remote beach using old optimists which we have posted on our Facebook Page.

Paul Chaplin who led the presentation commented “We put a message out to the other clubs about how important it is not to look too internally in your club and look more to the external environment. Look out into your community, think about what your club can do in your community and they will reward you with people, resources and it is a very rewarding way to run your club.”

Sea-Changers also have a grant fund specifically for marine litter projects, especially those in Scotland which closes on the 31st of March 2019. This is the result of a generous grant from the Gardener's Trust which enabled Sea-Changers to launch a specific fund to address marine litter issues, with the following objectives:

  • To address the root causes of marine litter in the UK.
  • To prevent or reduce marine litter impacting on UK coastal and marine environments and/or species.
  • To add to the body of knowledge about the nature and impact of marine litter in the UK.

So if you or your club want to engage with the local community and the environment in which you get afloat then lead or register with a local beach clean for a start. There is plenty of opportunity to Go Green for 2019.

 Look out our new resources

What is coming up in 2019? We are looking to refresh The Green Blue’s video guides and website. Also look out for the ‘Sustainable Event Toolkit’ for clubs running smaller regattas and larger boating event organisers looking to make their event more environmentally sustainable and gain recognition for their achievements.

The Green Blue is the joint environment initiative of the RYA and British Marine that help boat users, boating businesses, clubs and training centres to reduce their impact on coastal and inland waters to keep them in great shape for now and the future. The Green Blue raises awareness, supports practical projects, runs bespoke outreach activities and offers easy to follow advice to make boating as sustainable as possible.

Visit to find out more resources and information about sustainable boating.

If you, your club or centre are planning any environmental initiatives we would love to hear your stories of what is going in Scotland contact