The last four years have seen some incredible achievements for RYA Scotland and significant changes across Scottish boating. When we last reviewed our plans, Crown Estates Scotland didn’t exist, The Green Blue was falling into obscurity, only a couple of Moths had foils, coastal rowing was still new and we still had the London Boatshow.

Fast forward and we are seeing the loss of the Coastal Communities fund to Local Authorities, The Green Blue has never been stronger or more important, foiling is about to enter the Olympics, clubs with coastal rowers are common and Scotland’s Boat show is now the UKs second largest show.

All through this, RYA Scotland has been looking out for the interests of boating in Scotland, supporting clubs and training centres to evolve and grow in this ever changing environment and developing our athletes of the future in our performance pathway.

With our input, Push the Boat Out has grown every year and between this and other initiatives we have given 15,000 new people their first experience of boating or racing. Our club membership has steadily grown but has dipped this last year. We now have a purely online club affiliated to the RYA which connects many people who would otherwise not be part of our community.

It has never been more important for us to work together and keep thinking ahead to be able to react to this changing environment around our activities if we are to continue to effectively ‘Promote and protect, safe, successful and rewarding boating in Scotland.’

We want to speak directly to people across the boating community, to hear what you value most about RYA Scotland and our work and what you think should be our priorities as we head into a new era for boating in Scotland.

From the end of March 2020 through to early May, we will be undertaking a series of discussion evenings across Scotland. James Allan, the CEO, members of our staff and the RYA Scotland Board will travel to every corner of Scotland to hear from as many people as possible.

These sessions are structured to enable everyone present to take part in small group discussions which promise to be informative and engaging and will help shape the future for RYA Scotland.

James Allan, CEO at RYA Scotland, said, “2020 is Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters – what a great time for us to get out to meet people and talk about their boats and boating and what is important to them. I am really looking forward to meeting so many of our boating community and getting engaged in a good discussion. It is incredibly important that we hear all about what people feel we do well and could do better, things we should be doing and perhaps not doing to help make boating even better across Scotland.”

To back up these sessions and ensure everyone has the opportunity to contribute, we will also open up an online questionnaire which will be live through April and be available to the entire boating community. In addition, our staff will be sitting down with our partners and key stakeholders to have direct conversations about their thoughts on our future direction.

Ewan Macpherson, Chair of RYA Scotland, stressed the importance for everyone to get involved by saying:

"Through the efforts of members, clubs, volunteers and staff, RYA Scotland has made great progress on your behalf over the past four years.  However we are acutely aware that the world, including our world of boating, is moving on with ever greater momentum.  We recognise that great changes are happening all around us, throwing up challenges for RYA Scotland to address and overcome so that we can all continue to enjoy what we love doing best.  In planning our way forward for the next four year period from 2021, we need your input to ensure that the RYA Scotland plans and programmes are designed and implemented to support your desires for your boating in the best possible way.  Please try to contribute to the consultation process so that your thoughts and desires can be included in the preparation of our strategy for the period ahead. Many thanks in anticipation".

RYA Scotland has moved forward significantly over the last four years and seen a sustained growth in membership. We want our organisation to continue to flourish and deliver on our purpose to protect and promote safe, successful and rewarding boating in Scotland. This is your opportunity to help us do so.

Details on where and when these sessions will take place will be published on the RYA Scotland website, emailed directly to Clubs and Training Centres and promoted through social media later in February.