Using reusable water bottles is just one target for the sailing clubs

Kate Fortnam, The Green Blue Campaign Manager

Supported by British Universities Sailing Association, the challenge involves University Sailing Clubs working closely with their sailing venues to achieve sustainable actions throughout the academic year from ensuring sailing venues have a spill kit available to clean up any accidental oil and fuel spills to using re-usable sports bottles during training sessions and events to reduce waste and single use plastic.

How it works

Each club appoints a Sustainability Officer who acts as The Green Blue’s main point of contact throughout the challenge and is the key driver in leading their club to success.

With a slight change to the format for 2019 – 20, clubs work towards a Bronze Award in year one, Silver Award in year two and Gold in the third year of competition.

Each level of award has a set criteria of sustainable actions to be undertaken and evidenced through photographs, social media posts or documentation.

The 2018 – 19 competition winners at the RYA Dinghy Show

Last year’s challenge was won by Newcastle University Sailing and Yachting Club.

Swansea University Sailing Club clinched second place and in joint third place were Dundee University Sailing Club, the University of Sussex Sailing Club and the University of East Anglia Sailing Club.

Helena Leeson-Payne, sustainability officer, Dundee University Sailing Club said: “DUSC enjoyed taking part in the Sustainability Challenge. It involved all club members, especially our teams. Our host club, Royal Tay Yacht Club, is always very supportive and helpful with the university sailing club and this challenge was no different.

“I think many of our members would agree that by taking part it clarified the reason and importance of carrying out certain tasks such as the ‘check, clean, dry’ procedure and formalised many of the other procedures our club does when going out on the water. Making sure we used our reusable water bottles highlighted how such a simple thing could make a difference to the impact on the water. Overall, DUSC and all its members thoroughly enjoyed taking part, and we look forward to future challenges.”

Environmental problems like waste disposal, climate change and the pollution of our marine habitats affect every human, animal and nation on this planet. Environmental issues are also a hot topic in lecture halls and common rooms across the UK. By undertaking these positive sustainable actions the competing clubs have the opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the boating community how achievable and rewarding sustainable boating can be.

Getting involved

Now in its fifth year, the challenge, which got underway at the beginning of September and runs until February 2020, with the winners being announced at a prize-giving ceremony held at the RYA Dinghy Show in London in March.

For more information, or if you and your university sailing club want to be involved in the 2019 – 20 challenge, contact or call 023 8060 4227. You will then be provided with details of the criteria requirements for your relevant award.

Cheer on the University Sailing Clubs through the 2019 – 20 sustainability challenge by following @thegreenblue on Twitter and Facebook.

The Green Blue is the joint environment initiative created by British Marine and the RYA to encourage a more sustainable recreational boating sector.

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