Please select your home edition
Edition

RYA announces appointment of Director of External Affairs

by RYA 14 Sep 2021 09:35 BST
Mel Hide © Royal Yachting Association

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has today announced the appointment of Mel Hide as its new Director of External Affairs, following her predecessor Howard Pridding's decision to retire from full-time employment.

The role will involve working with the Senior Management Team to ensure that recreational boating interests are represented effectively and that Government, in all its forms, takes account of the sector's activities when balancing competing interests. Working closely with the RYA's policy-forming External Affairs and Cruising Committee, the role also has an ambassadorial responsibility as a spokesperson for the recreational boating industry, the RYA's 100,000 valued members, and the organisation.

The RYA's External Affairs team has a diverse remit - providing legal advice on all aspects of boating and related issues from purchase, registration, consumer disputes, salvage, safeguarding and VAT to name just a few. The team also works tirelessly to ensure that legislators, regulators and other authorities understand, and take account of recreational boating activity.

Mel is a public relations professional with a broad perspective and extensive strategic communication experience gained across retail, government and not for profit sectors. She joins the RYA from an international charity, where she created strategies to grow membership, improve brand visibility and gain stakeholder support for the charity's ambitious business plan.

Formerly, Mel was Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Whilst at the RNLI, she was responsible for brand and reputation - advising on corporate positioning and assuring relevant representation and campaigning success.

During her 5-year RNLI tenure, Mel led many initiatives, including the opening of the All Weather Lifeboat Centre and the commissioning of the BBC TV series, Saving Lives as Sea. She developed a sound understanding of water safety issues and is proud of her contribution to the RNLI's Community Lifesaving programme with the launch of the award-winning campaign 'Respect the Water'.

Commenting on her appointment, Mel said: "As a passionate communicator who enjoys watersports, this is a dream job. There's an opportunity to leverage recent Olympic achievements and inspire wider participation in the sport, while also spearheading sustainability to ensure boating is protected for future generations. I find this highly motivating and can't wait to join RYA's fantastic team."

The RYA appointed Howard Pridding as Interim Director of External Affairs in 2018, for an initial period of six months. He had previously worked at British Marine for more than 27 years, the latter five as Chief Executive. During his 3-year tenure at the RYA, Howard applied his deep understanding of the boating industry to play a leading role in representing the industry to politicians, government officials and the media. Notably, Howard and his team successfully lobbied for boaters to get back on the water safely as part of the first phase of activity that was permitted as lockdown restrictions began to be lifted.

RYA Interim Chief Executive, Dave Strain, said: "We wish Howard a happy retirement following his long and accomplished career in the marine and recreational boating sector. Mel's broad-ranging skills, along with her vast experience of representation activities, will stand her in good stead to take over the reigns as the new RYA Director of External Affairs."

Mel will join the RYA in October 2021, following a handover period with her predecessor.

Related Articles

Harriet Averns named RYA Yachtmaster of the Year
Presented with the prestigious trophy by Richard Falk 25-year-old Kent sailor, Harriet Averns has been named as the recipient of the RYA Yachtmaster® of the Year award for her exceptional demonstration of sailing skills during her RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence exam. Posted on 13 Jan
RYA welcomes new Chief Executive Sara Sutcliffe
A new year... and a new CEO at the RYA's helm It's a new year and 'all change' at the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) as the team today welcomes Sara Sutcliffe MBE as the organisation's new Chief Executive. Posted on 10 Jan
VAT changes to affect recreational boat owners
Confirmation of a Returned Goods Relief waiver is "outstanding news" The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) reported the Government's intention to waive the three-year condition for Returned Goods Relief (RGR) on the 09 December. Posted on 20 Dec 2021
RYA welcomes returned goods relief waiving intent
The draft legislation will amend reference documents for The Customs Regulations 2020 Following a meeting between the RYA and HMRC on 17 November, we welcome the government's intent to waive the 3-year condition for RGR for pleasure craft that are the personal property of a UK resident which are being returned to the UK for personal use. Posted on 9 Dec 2021
Environment Agency proposed registration charges
Changes made after the Royal Yachting Association concerns are listened to The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) welcomes the final outcome given that it had made clear that an opportunity had been missed to create a strategic and viable financial plan for EA waterways. Posted on 7 Dec 2021
FREE ticket to first ever BoatLife Live boat show
Exclusively for RYA Members The RYA is pleased to announce that all members are now able to take advantage of one FREE ticket to the new BoatLife Live Boat Show taking place from 17 - 20 February 2022 at the NEC Birmingham, in the heart of the midlands. Posted on 5 Dec 2021
RYA welcomes Government assurance
That changes to Immigration Act will not criminalise boaters The Home Office has confirmed to the RYA that the amendments the Government is making to section 25 of the Immigration Act 1971 are only intended to apply to those who unlawfully assist immigration and help asylum seekers to enter the UK. Posted on 25 Nov 2021
RYA Volunteer Awards
HRH The Princess Royal celebrates boating's outstanding volunteers Dedicated volunteers from across the UK were awarded for their exceptional commitment and achievements in boating last week (19 November) by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. Posted on 25 Nov 2021
RYA renews commitment to reducing carbon emissions
By adopting the United Nations Sports for Climate Action's new target RYA is proud to renew the commitment to reducing carbon emissions by adopting the United Nations Sports for Climate Action's new targets of reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, and of reaching net zero emissions by 2040. Posted on 9 Nov 2021
Sign up for the RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference
The hybrid 2021 edition kicks off on Monday 8th November Following on from the success of the RYA's first-ever virtual Affiliated Clubs Conference last year, the hybrid 2021 edition kicks off on 8th November with a live online evening hosted by double Olympic gold medallist and broadcaster Shirley Robertson. Posted on 3 Nov 2021