Sustainability Challenge

The RYA and British Marine’s joint environment initiative The Green Blue has revealed University of Manchester Sailing Club as the overall winner of the University Sailing Sustainability Challenge 2017-18.

Environmental problems like waste disposal, climate change and the pollution of our oceans 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.

Set up by The Green Blue and supported by the British University Sailing Association, the University Sailing Sustainability Challenge provides an ideal platform for university sailors to demonstrate how achievable sustainable boating can be to the wider boating community.

Champions of sustainability

After six months of competition, the successful students from the University of Manchester Sailing Club claimed their prize on the main stage at the RYA Dinghy Show presented by Suzuki in association with Yachts & Yachting and Gill.

Having clinched first place by achieving the Gold Award, they received the competition’s £500 top prize along with their certificate of congratulations.

Aberdeen University Sailing Club took second place with a Silver Award and a £250 prize and in third place was Swansea University Sailing Club who achieved the Bronze Award and a £100 prize.

Representatives of all three university sailing clubs were invited on to the main stage at the RYA Dinghy Show to have their awards presented by campaign manager for The Green Blue, Kate Fortnam, and Peter Saxton, president of BUSA.

Kate said: “It has been totally awesome to see so many University Sailing Clubs once again commit to making their sport as environmentally sustainable as possible. The students have clearly demonstrated their dedication and commitment to keep their sailing environment clean, safe and beautiful for themselves and future generations of sailors.”

Environmental audits

To recognise the achievements of the winning clubs, certificates were presented to the Sustainability Officer of each club that achieved either the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. Their role was to organise, encourage and lead their club through the challenge to successfully complete a number of sustainable boating actions.

At each achievement level (bronze, silver and gold) a number of sustainable actions had to be achieved and evidenced by competing university sailing clubs. These included performing an environmental audit of their sailing venue to identify and improve areas that can be made more sustainable, ensuring all their members use reusable water bottles as opposed to one-use plastic bottles, installing an oil/fuel spill kit at their sailing venue to clean up accidental spills when refueling, and demonstrating ‘check, clean and dry’ best practice to minimise the spread of alien species around UK waters.

Next year’s challenge

The Green Blue has teamed up with BUSA to invite all UK University Sailing Clubs to enter next year’s University Sailing Sustainability Challenge 2018-19.

If you know or are part of a university sailing club that is interested in getting involved or want to find out more about the challenge contact Kate Fortnam at or call 023 8060 4227.

You can cheer on next year’s University Sailing Clubs through the sustainability challenge by following @thegreenblue on Twitter.

To find out more about the work of The Green Blue visit