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The results are in: RYA Membership survey 2019

by Emma Slater 30 May 18:00 BST
RYA Membership survey 2019 © RYA

From March to April 2019 the RYA undertook its biennial Membership survey engaging with members, non-members and ex-members to get a better understanding as to what members and people in the boating community know, and feel about RYA Membership.

Over 16,000 people responded to the survey, which was conducted independently by The Leadership Factor on behalf of the RYA, providing a real insight in to how people perceive RYA Membership and the RYA in general. The survey covered a whole host of topics focused around membership and the membership experience. It looked at the reasons why people do or do not join, how people perceive the benefits of RYA membership and where possible improvements can be made to the membership offer. The survey also took a closer look at people's views of the RYA's website and the information they look for.

"Any feedback we receive, either via the survey, at boat shows or direct to the team, is essential in helping us shape the work of the Membership Development team to create a valued Membership Package that is attractive and relevant to existing members and potential new members," explained Conor Lee-Swift, RYA Membership Development Manager.

"It also gives us a much better understanding of who our members are", Conor added. Over 80% of respondents to the survey were aged 45 and over, with some 73% of respondents boating for over 20 years, and almost all classing their skill level as intermediate or advanced (94%).

"Whilst the findings have been extremely useful in guiding where we can improve our service to members, it does highlight that we need to take a close look at how we can better engage with people new to boating and younger people", Conor continued.

Top line results:

  • When asked what was important to membership, over ¾ of respondents stated that access to RYA Advice legal support and boating issues advice, was important and 40% stated getting tips from the RYA as extremely important.

  • 32% of respondents stated the reason they joined the RYA was to support the work the RYA does protecting and promoting British Boating and a massive 93% of respondents stated they were likely to renew their membership

  • Half of respondents stated they were members of an RYA affiliated club, however 10% were unaware that as a member of an affiliated club they weren't automatically a personal member of the RYA

  • When asked questions relating to the RYA website 63.5% of people who visited the site said they were able to find what they were looking for. Two thirds of those respondents (66%) said they visited the site for knowledge and advice, with almost 50% searching for the latest news and events

  • Reputation and training courses were cited as the top reasons why people engaged with the RYA

  • Over a third (35%) of respondents stated they viewed RYA membership as value for money, and over 75% of respondents said they are likely to recommend the RYA to their friends and family

  • The RYA Magazine was also well received with 80% of respondents stating they were satisfied with the magazine
"There were some extremely positive results to come out of the survey, however there are still plenty of things we can do to improve the membership offer and experience", commented Conor. "Some of the results mirrored information that we were already aware of, for example members of affiliated clubs not realising they weren't automatically individual members of the RYA as well. This is something we are working hard on to rectify so that club members understand the differences and don't miss out on the benefits of individual membership.

"Comments regarding the website have also provided us with some good insight as to what is important to visitors and we are currently working on improving the website experience."

The survey also provided some great ideas and thoughts as to how the RYA could do better to service and support members.

When asked what additional benefits or changes they would like to see to the membership offer, there was a desire to see better third party offers and more personalisation in communications with advice and tips directly relating to specific skill level and boating preference

"Having a strong Membership base enables the RYA to be the voice of boating and truly represent boaters' interests. The more members we have, the louder our voice to act on members behalf to protect their boating freedoms, with minimum restrictions, so being able to understand what is important for the membership it crucial," concluded Conor.

Whether you're a member or non-member the RYA welcomes your ideas and suggestions on how we can make changes and improvements to our membership offer. If you would like to get in touch and share your ideas please email the RYA's Membership Development Team at

Why join...

  • Choose from one of four membership categories offering different types of membership tailored to best suit the boating you do
  • Combine your voice with over 112,000 RYA Members, giving you peace of mind that we are working on your behalf to keep the boating you do free from unnecessary regulation
  • Access to free boating-related specialist legal, regulatory and technical advice and support from our experts
  • Over 80 rewards partners working with us to cut the cost of your boating with exclusive offers and discounts.

  • Feel part of a community sharing the same passion and making a positive difference to the boating you do.

Membership starts from just 12p a day. Find out more at rya.org.uk/go/join

Love Boating? Then why not join the association that promotes and protects, safe, successful and rewarding British boating. Join today and support the RYA in protecting your boating rights and freedoms. Take advantage of free advice and support on all aspects of your boating, as well as enjoying a range of fantastic personal member offers. Find out more by calling 02380 604 159, email or visit rya.org.uk.

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