The UK Hydrographic Office’s (UKHO) strategy for small craft is currently in development and they would like to hear from the community of leisure and recreational mariners to help ensure that it reflects their priorities and requirements. For that reason, the UKHO has extended its consultation deadline for responses to its proposals until 31 October 2019.

In response to the changing requirements of small craft users, the UKHO proposes to withdraw the supply and maintenance of ADMIRALTY Small Craft Folios. It is proposed that licensees will continue to meet the current needs of the leisure mariner, while at the same time being better-enabled to develop products that meet future and more diverse needs.

The RYA believes that there are a number of policy and operational concerns raised by the Government’s intention to remove Small Craft Folios from the recreational market. It is these concerns that the RYA is bringing to the Government’s attention in its response to the consultation. In addition, the RYA is urging all recreational boaters and other leisure mariners responsible for safety of life at sea to respond to the consultation.

The RYA believes that the UKHO has a responsibility to provide support to UK obligations under the UN International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea through the provision of hydrographic information, products and services in a range of formats and media (including paper) that is suitable for and easily usable by all maritime sectors.

Cathrine Armour, Director of Customer Division at the UKHO commented: “The UKHO is seeking views from leisure mariners on its proposed strategy for the small leisure craft market, which is why we are encouraging everyone to get in touch with their views.

“We are also liaising with the membership organisations that represent this community, seeking their expert feedback. Some of these organisations, such as the Royal Yachting Association and the Royal Institute of Navigation, are organising their own research, which is very helpful and most welcome. We look forward to learning from this feedback and ensuring that the needs of all users of small leisure craft continue to be met, with the goal of ensuring that they stay safe at sea.”

Consultation feedback is sought either through the Royal of Institution of Navigation survey via an online form, or directly to products.feedback@ukho.gov.uk. Responses are requested no later than Thursday 31 October 2019. Following a review of all feedback received, the UKHO will provide a further update on the next steps later this year.