The 2021-22 Green Blue University Sailing Sustainability Challenge set-off to a fantastic start in September with over 20 clubs pledging to become more sustainable over the next five months. The clubs have until the weekend of the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show to meet the set actions that require them to work together to minimise the environmental impact of their sport.
Each set of actions are slightly different depending on which level the club is currently at i.e., Bronze, Silver or Gold. So far in this year’s Challenge we have seen students raising awareness of sustainable boating with posters on club noticeboards, leaflets in communal areas and signs at launch points. Portsmouth University Sailing Club (Gold) have also completed a club presentation on boating best practice, from following the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ method to recycling and reusing equipment.
Durham University Sailing Club (Silver) have also been active in their local area by undertaking a litter pick of their nearby Derwent Reservoir, picking up fallen rubbish from between rocks and takeaway packets from beside the water.
Both Leeds and Brunel University Sailing Clubs (both Bronze) have held clothing collections for local charities, donating several sacks between them to Emmaus and British Heart Foundation. In the lead up to a night out, Bath University Sailing Club (Gold) hosted a Clothing Swap Shop, encouraging members to find alternatives to fast fashion.
Actions have also been happening online with Portsmouth’s sailors sharing the message of sustainability on social media with their own eye-catching set of infographics. Many of the clubs such as Exeter and Swansea University Sailing Club (both Silver) have also carried out inventories of kit to ensure that they’re not over-purchasing and have put in place their own sustainability pledges.
Back on the water side, Newcastle University Sailing and Yachting Club (Bronze) have added an Oil Spill Kit and ensured that the fuel supplies and re-fuelling zones are kept at least 10m away from the water. Reusable water bottles continue to grow in popularity and most clubs participating in the Challenge have shown that they’re discouraging the use of single-use plastic at events and training days.
Olivia Wells, RYA Sustainability Officer and Challenge Coordinator, said: “We always receive a great response from the university sailing clubs
and seeing the enthusiasm and positive actions from the clubs despite set-backs from storms and Covid restrictions has been fantastic. We’re really looking forward to celebrating those actions and achievements at the Dinghy & Watersports Show this year.”
You can find out which clubs have successfully completed their category at this year’s RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show 26 – 27 February. All successful clubs will be entered into a prize draw with the three winning clubs receiving a cash prize from Challenge sponsors and eco-friendly clothing company, OceanЯ.
You can follow the Challenge on social media: #thegreenblueunichallenge