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University Sailing Sustainability Challenge

Univ Sailing Sus Challenge No Date

The Green Blue's University Sailing Sustainability Challenge is an annual competition designed to encourage university sailing clubs to take action to make their sailing more environmentally sustainable. 

Supported by British Universities Sailing Association, the initiative was launched in 2015 and in its first year saw 10 university sailing clubs signing up. In first place, achieving the Gold Award and receiving the £500 top prize was York University Sailing and Windsurfing Club. The University of Strathclyde Sailing Club clinched second place with a Silver Award and a £250 prize and finally in 3rd place after battling stiff competition from a number of other clubs was the University of Plymouth Sailing and Powerboating Club who achieved the Bronze Award and a £100 prize. The success of the challenge saw 20 university sailing clubs actively participate in the 2016-17 challenge, with Bangor University Sailing Club coming first, Edinburgh University Sailing Club in second and University of Plymouth Sailing and Powerboating Club in third place.

The challenge involves University Sailing Clubs competing to undertake as many sustainable actions as they can throughout the academic year. By undertaking these positive actions they will have the opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the boating community how achievable and rewarding sustainable boating can be.

Each club needs to appoint a Sustainability Officer who will act as The Green Blue’s main point of contact and the key driver to lead their club to success. In the last challenge students undertaking geography, science and marine related degrees were keen to take up the position to build on their skills and knowledge and add their involvement with a UK Sustainable Boating Programme to their CV.

Sustainable actions include: ensuring sailing venues have a Spill Kit available to clean up any accidental spills when boaters are handling oil and fuel, ensuring members use re-usable sports bottles during training sessions and events to reduce waste and single use plastic bottles, and making sure boats, trailers and equipment follow the Check Clean Dry approach to minimise the risk of spreading invasive non-native species around UK waters.

Sustainability Officer for York University Sailing and Windsurfing Club (YUSWC), Blair Davies said: “The sustainability challenge has been great in stimulating new attitudes as to how our club operates. As an environmental science student, it has given me the chance to apply my knowledge to lessen the environmental impacts of YUSWC. For the club it’s been pivotal in establishing sustainable attitudes of all members, gaining recognition from the university’s sports union and BUSA. There’s always room to improve operations to become more sustainable, and The Green Blue initiative gives impetus to UK sailing clubs to be greener. It’s very gratifying and something every club should get on board with.”

For more information about the challenge, contact Kate Fortnam, The Green Blue’s Environmental Outreach Officer, at kate.fortnam@thegreenblue.org.uk or call 023 8060 4227.

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