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How to grow your OnBoard membership

Here are our top tips on growing your OnBoard club

OnBoard has been an RYA programme since 2005 and has had some huge success stories. If you are just starting up, or looking for ideas on how to grow your OnBoard club then we have our top 10 tips below along with some useful contacts and links.


1. Your Website

Your sailing club or centre website is often the first thing potential OnBoard members and associated will see – especially if they have clicked through from the RYA ‘ Where’s My Nearest’ feature. So imagine if they don’t see a link to OnBoard on the homepage – or even a link for youth sailing. It is often said that people will click three times on a webpage before giving up – so make it easy. Remember RYA OnBoard is what they are looking for! If you need the RYA OnBoard logo then just email

2. Qualified Instructors

Make sure that your volunteers/staff are qualified RYA instructors and are following a plan for OnBoard throughout the season. The instructors are the people that will inspire and motivate your young sailors so make sure they are confident in what they are delivering, and equipped for the job. The Assistant Instructor scheme is also a great way to progress through the sport.

3. Regional Development Officers

If you are already an OnBoard club or centre, or are thinking of becoming one, then you should get some contact time with your local ‘RDO’ or ‘SDO’ (Sailing Development Officer). They are the local experts and have a wealth of knowledge and ideas on how to grow your OnBoard club. Even just a phone conversation with them can be worth its weight in gold!

4. Have a Pathway

What options are there for young sailors at your club/centre after they have learned to sail? Do you have some entry level race training? Or perhaps you have a pathway for youngsters to become RYA instructors. Whatever you do make sure there is a clear pathway so youngsters don’t lose interest. It’s also worth thinking about how you engage with families if they are non-sailors.


5. Active Partnerships

Did you know about your local County Sports Partnership organisation? They are the local experts about sport and activity in your area. They can be a one stop shop for ideas about funding, getting into schools, tackling insights and so much more. Have a look at their websites – just a few minutes can throw up some ideas.

6. Discover Sailing

Are you signed up for Discover Sailing this year? If so there’s a lot to do – but think about promoting OnBoard at your event. Make sure you have a representative's on site to talk through all things OnBoard, maybe even some existing young sailors that can shout about how good it is. You will probably be using some of the Discover Sailing resources but you could also give out some OnBoard resources as well – if you need a top up then please email

7. Vouchers and Incentives

Children, and their parents, love a voucher or loyalty card! Perhaps think about giving out a simple voucher if a child has attended some training at your club/centre, it could be for a free OnBoard session. This takes away the initial barrier of cost and will let them work out for themselves if they want to continue with sailing. Have a look at this case study for ideas.


8. Funding

Of course running an OnBoard club will have some costs and sometimes we all need a little help. Your local County Sports Partnership website should have a dedicated page with lists of potential funding pots. Have a look at the  Sport England funding page, or talk to your RDO.

9. Members

Your very own members are your best ambassadors. Make sure they are well informed about OnBoard, especially ahead of an open day or big event. They can also have the best ideas so open up a forum. Have a think - do you have any junior representatives on your committee?

10. Case Studies

Still short for ideas? Read our case studies page or our e-newsletter and get plagiarising!

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