Winning Formula

In The Green Blue’s 2016-17 University Sailing Sustainability Challenge 20 University Sailing Clubs from across the UK competed to be top of the leader board in environmental sustainability.

From these 20 clubs six achieved the highest level of sustainability in the challenge and received the gold award. The winners included Bangor, Cardiff, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Edinburgh and Kent USCs.

As well as receiving their awards on the mainstage at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show they were also put into a prize draw to win either £500, £250, £100 or £50 to invest in their club.


To find out what it takes to achieve the Gold Award, The Green Blue spoke to Emma Keen, Sustainability Officer for Bangor University Sailing Club, about how she led her USC to gold and clinch the £500 prize draw.

“The Green Blue’s University Sailing Sustainability Challenge was a great opportunity for our USC to become even more sustainable by adopting environmental best practice into our sailing activities.

“As boaters and students of marine biology, oceanography, geography and other related subjects we were keen to get involved to help our sailing environment stay clean, safe and beautiful. If we can make any changes in our sailing activities on and off the water to minimise any impacts we could be having we will always get on board.

“To get us started, The Green Blue provided us with a set criteria containing a variety of sustainable actions our club could achieve within the six month challenge period. We had to complete as many as possible in order to become the most sustainable USC in the UK and be in with a chance of winning a prize.

“We knew the competition was going to be tough with the winners of the 2015-16 USSC returning to try and keep their top position in the challenge, but our members enjoy competition and this was a great chance to compete against our fellow USCs, not only on the water but off the water as well.


“We really enjoyed working with Plas Menai National Outdoor Centre to make our sailing behaviour and operations more sustainable. Thanks to the challenge we now ensure that all our boats, trailers and equipment are washed with clean water after events around the UK to stop the spread of Invasive Non-Native Species.

“We also have an oil/fuel spill kit on-hand in case of any accidental spills and we use reusable plastic bottles to reduce plastic waste. Within six months we implemented 14 sustainable actions which also won us Sustainable Club of the Year at the Athletic Union Annual Awards Dinner.”

Emma concluded: “Our club would definitely recommend it to anyone considering making their sailing and sailing club more environmentally sustainable. It does not take up too much time as most of the sustainable actions are easy to work into normal sailing sessions or social events.”

If you want to make your sailing club or centre greener, get in touch with The Green Blue, The RYA and British Marine’s environmental initiative, for environmental best practice tips and advice.

Contact Kate Fortnam, The Green Blue’s Environmental Outreach Officer, at or call 023 8060 4227.

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