University Sustainability Challenge

The Green Blue

The Green Blue is the joint environment programme created by the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine launched in 2005 at the Southampton Boat Show. We help boat users, boating businesses, clubs and training centres to reduce their impact on coastal and inland waters to keep them in great shape for now and the future. The Green Blue raises awareness, supports practical projects, runs bespoke outreach activities and offers easy to follow advice to make boating in the UK as sustainable as possible.

The Green Blue - launched at the Southampton Boat Show on 19th September 2005 - is the environmental awareness programme set up by the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine. Its mission is to promote the sustainable use of coastal and inland waters by boating and watersports participants, as well as the sustainable operation and development of the recreational boating industry.

The Green Blue's objective is to help boaters and boating businesses to minimise their impact on the environment by raising awareness amongst industry and users; reducing harmful discharges; reducing environmental disturbance; and encouraging sustainable choices.

2017 Challenge winners receive their awards from Kate Fortnam of Green Blue and Peter Saxton, BUSA President at the 2017 Dinghy Show

Bangor USC demonstrate their reusable water bottles

University Sailing Sustainability Challenge 2017-18

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 (BUSA), 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 (USC) actively participate in the 2016-17 challenge, with Bangor, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Portsmouth, Kent and Plymouth USCs all achieving the Gold Award.

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.

The challenge will now run for a third year during the 2017-18 academic year, and The Green Blue are encouraging all USCs to get involved in this great opportunity to make their sailing more environmentally sustainable.

What is involved in the challenge?

The challenge involves USCs 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 competing club appoints a Sustainability Officer who acts 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.

There is a set criteria of sustainable actions that USCs make their way through and depending on how many a club completes will determine whether they achieve a Bronze, Silver of Gold Award. 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.

The top achieving USCs will be presented with their awards on the mainstage at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show in March and be entered into a cash prize draw to invest in their club.

For more information about the challenge contact Kate Fortnam, The Green Blue’s Campaign Manager, or call 023 8060 4227. If you are a University Sailing Club and wish to join the challenge, please contact the Challenge Coordinator, Rebekka Thomas.

Rebekka has been in touch with USC Commodores with an invitation to participate in the 2017-19 Challenge between 1st October 2017 and the 19 February, 2018. The attached Briefing Paper accompanied this invitation, which is open to all University Sailing Clubs.

You can cheer on the University Sailing Clubs through the Sustainability Challenge by following us Twitter - @thegreenblue - or on the Green Blue's Facebook page.

Other links: The GreenBlue website has lots of information, resources, ideas and news. The University Sustainability Challenge is also described there (as above)