A to Z of UK Boating Organisations
Our A to Z lists the key boat related UK businesses, organisations and governing bodies at your service to help you make your experience on and off the water even more enjoyable.
These organisations have been noted for their vital work on a local, national and international scale. Their work is crucial to the overall development of the British marine industry. Navigate through the list below to find the right organisation to help you get the most out your life on the water.
Representing game, coarse and sea anglers in England, the Angling Trust acts to protect fish stocks through campaigns and legal action. The trust also seeks government funding to support the encouragement of more people to get into fishing from all walks of life. By protecting the interests of groups across the country, the trust’s work includes campaigning for improved conservation, protection of angling and action against abuse to fisheries.
Membership to the trust includes discounts on products and services from trade partners and fishing venues, plus free £5m civil liability insurance.
Representing over 250 companies and governing over 90% of the UK insurance market, the ABI consults its members on a range of insurance related issues. Its member companies account for nearly 20% of investments in London's stock market. The ABI is therefore the voice of the insurance investment industry.
To guarantee the insurance industry keeps to high standard of practice, this organisation works closely with the government, regulators and policymakers on a national and international level. The work of the ABI aims to stimulate a competitive marine insurance industry that directly affects UK boat brokers.
With around 200 members in the UK and further afield, all professional yacht broker members adhere to ABYA’s code of practice, promoting the highest possible standard of professionalism and expert knowledge in the field of yacht sales. ABYA members specialise in both new and second-hand boats of all sizes. By overseeing the practice of yacht sales, customers of ABYA member brokers can be reassured they receiving the best advice and assistance in selling a boat.
ABYA grades its members to ensure customers are informed on the experience brokers, dealers or agents and also promote the development of professionalism within yacht sales.
The AINA provides a central governing body for the UK’s waterway management and operation. Viewing waterways as an economic, environmental, and social resource, the AINA presents the concerns of navigation authorities to Government, regulators, other policy makers, funders and stakeholders.
Through its experience and network of professionals the AINA distributes information, advice on good practice for the management, operation and development of inland waterways for navigation and wider use.
Comprised of more than 30 not-for-profit organisations, ASTO’s members operate around 50 vessels around the UK for sail training. ASTO’s Skippership Scheme aims to introduce and develop the skills of people of all ages and experience. Their commitment to promoting the activity of sailing across the UK and improving the standard of sail training brings them into regular collaboration with regulatory and governing bodies including the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).
To give sail training wider exposure, ASTO also organises events such as Small Ships Races, Tall Ships Races, meetings and conferences.
The Boat Safety Scheme began as a 'collaboration' established in 1995 between the owners of the Scheme, British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust) and the National Rivers Authority (now the Environment Agency). The organisation works to reduce boat fires, explosions and pollution harming visitors to the inland waterways and all those who work and live by them.
Through education projects, boat owners are informed on the hazards that exist within their vessels, this public safety initiative acts to make the UK’s waterways safer and more attractive for anyone that uses them.
Independent and authorised BSS Examiners also operate across the UK to ensure boats meet minimum legal safety standards. These examinations and a up-to-date BSS Certificate are recommended every 4 years.
British Marine represents over 1500 member businesses from the leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry in the UK. All registered members of the British Marine vow to adhere to a strict code of practice and legal standards that benefit both its members and the customers they serve.
British Marine also offers technical advice to its members at all levels and seeks to influence government to represent the interests of the UK leisure marine industry as a whole. Businesses of all sizes can use the detailed marine market research produced by British Marine to inform their strategy and grow throughout the UK and further afield. The work of British Marine culminates in the UK’s two largest boat shows in London and Southampton, where members from across the UK and Europe gather to exhibit their businesses to thousands of boating enthusiasts.
The BMSE is a society made up of graduates of the renowned IBTC professional qualification in Yacht and Small Craft Surveying based mainly in the UK. The society’s purpose is to improve the professional practice of marine surveying through networking and sharing expertise in particular niches within the industry.
It’s members diverse range of skills and experience allow the BMSE to undertake a survey on virtually every kind of vessel.
Championing the UK inland waterways, the Canal and River Trust encourages people of all walks of life to enjoy the 2,000 miles of waterways across England and Wales. The charity not only promotes engagement with these historic canals and rivers but also facilitates the maintenance, protection of bridges, embankments, towpaths, aqueducts, docks and reservoirs, whilst sustaining their relationship with the local wildlife around them.
Community and fundraising events highlighting boats and wildlife along the UK’s waterways are ran regularly.
CE Proof ensure boats and related equipment around the world comply with the EU Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) and the Marine Equipment Directive (MED) with a CE mark.
With naval architects, surveyors, engineers and IT professionals amongst their team, CE Proof are adaptable to evaluate whether any product meets the minimum safety standards that products must conform to before being allowed on the European market or prior to being put into service in the European Economic Area (EEA).
The Environment Agency works across the UK to protect the spaces that people and wildlife inhabit and also make improvements through sustainable development. Their work addresses the regulation of major industry and waste, treatment of contaminated land, sustaining water quality and resources, protecting fisheries, conservation, ecology and the management of flood risk.
These goals are met through collaboration with local authorities, businesses and organisations of all sizes.
With the local and national committees, the IWA seeks to represent waterways users through campaigning and influencing government policy. Of its 16,000 members, 60% are boat owners, making the IWA the largest association protecting the interests of inland boaters. Through a democratic process, the IWA address issues including waterway restoration, waterway walking routes, industrial archaeology, wildlife and other waterside recreation.
Members of the IWA receive a subscription to their quarterly magazine, discounts from partner businesses and notifications opportunities to volunteer.
Promoting professionalism, recognition and training of marine surveyors around the world, the IIMS represents over 1000 marine surveyors in over 90 countries. The IIMS aims to protect the interests of marine surveyors to both government and non governmental organisations. They therefore work closely with groups such as the International Marine Organisation (IMO), Coastguards, insurance companies and ship owners.
Members flock annually to conferences around the world to meet with fellow marine surveyors and discuss the development of their industry.
Founded in 1889, the IMarEST is the largest global institute for marine professionals from fields including marine engineering, science and technology. Its 15,000 members are located in over 100 countries. Its overall purpose is to promote the scientific development of the global marine industry through the exchange of ideas and practices. Their work affects the professional practices of corporate companies to students.
With a diverse membership the IMarEST is involved in virtually every field of the marine industry including; Ports & Shipping, Offshore Oil & Gas, Maritime Services, Marine Science, Naval & Defence, Marine Leisure, Marine Renewables, Fishing & Aquaculture.
In order to prevent the loss of life on the coast and at sea, The MCA works to address maritime related issues through legislation and advice. The organisation also oversees the allocation of certification to seafarers.
When registering a pleasure craft, several registrations must be made to the UK Ship Register. The Small Ships Register is an online service facilitated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency allows customers to register small ships (less than 24 meters in overall length) on-line and to make edits to existing registrations. These alterations to registrations can include changes of ownership, changes of vessel details (including name), and changes of owners' addresses.
The Met Office is the national weather service and therefore makes meteorological predictions to forecast weather and climate change. The organisation also often trains forecasters from around the world. Through accurates predicting changes in weather, the Met Office can directly affect the UK economy.
The Met Office is also responsible for the shipping forecast which is broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Weather and flood warnings also ensure UK citizens can preempt severe weather and stay safe, particularly on the water.
The NABO represents the interests of the boaters that frequent canals, rivers and lakes across the UK. The association acts as a consultant to its members on a variety of boat ownership related issues and also campaigns on both local and national issues that directly affect boat owners.
Its members discuss and highlight issues in their regular newsletter as well as on their website and at Council meetings.
The NSSA works to promote the benefits of sailing as educational experience of young people in primary and secondary education across the UK. These benefits include improved fitness and healthy living, personal and social development, selecting and applying skills, improving performance and developing a risk management.
Members of the NSSA include local association teams, outdoor education centres and individual members of all ages. The organisation also hosts events such as the National Youth Regatta to reward the developing skills of young sailors and inspire new participants.
As the consumer brand of British Marine, OTW campaigns for greater awareness about boating and encourages people from all walks of life to adopt water based hobbies. 3.2 million currently participate in water based activities each year, but through events and education, OTW aim to drastically increase this number.
OTW both organise and support events that allow novices to try activities ranging from kayaking and paddleboarding to wakeboarding and dinghy sailing. Through its relationship to the BMF, OTW also helps consumers connect with the right BMF member to help them get more out of their life on the water.
RINA is a respected organisation around the world for over 150 years of work towards advancing the art and science of ship design. Its members based in over 90 countries are made up of professionals working at all levels in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of marine vessels and structures. Membership to RINA is a indication of professional competence and a commitment to further education and training.
Membership to RINA allows professionals within the industry to network and learn from one another through international conferences, workshops, training courses, online forums and technical journals.
31,500 volunteers make the RNLI’s 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service and a seasonal lifeguard service possible across the UK and RoI. The motivation behind this charity and nationwide network is to end preventable loss of life at sea. Although the RNLI’s backbone is its volunteer lifeboat crews that save lives on a daily basis, thousands of volunteers also contribute to the cause as lifeguards, educators, fundraisers and ambassadors.
The RNLI has existed for over 2 centuries without funding from central government. Instead, it sustains its work through local and national fundraising campaigns.
With over 100,000 members, the RYA facilitates the training of people of all ages and abilities to enjoy water based sports in a safe and environmentally conscious way. As the UK’s governing body for the vast majority of recreational and competitive boating, the organisation promotes the interests of individuals within the boating sector to government. The RYA is responsible for the national development of dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sportsboats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, inland cruising and personal watercraft. Its training programmes support novices through to professional athletes, particularly through its management of the British sailing team.
The RYA also extends its expertise across the globe as a founding member of the International Sailing Federation and training centres in more than 47 countries.
The UKSA is a transformational youth charity working with 9,000 young people every year, offering personal development and training. Through activities on and off the water, the UKSA aims to challenge and motivate young people at risk of unemployment, dropping out of education or training. UKSA supports those people to help them realise their potential. Their youth development opportunities range from school visits, helping disadvantaged and disabled young people to training the instructors of the future.
The UKSA work alongside many other industry organisations to promote and facilitate their work to help young people make a transition from education to a fulfilling career.
The YDSA’s members are made up of independent, professional yacht surveyors and yacht designers in the UK and overseas that offer a complete service in boat and yacht surveying and design. Its surveying members are equipped to consult on issues regarding pre-purchase, insurance, damages, re-fits, tonnage measurements, MCA coding (on vessels up to 24m in length) and valuation. Its designer members are also fully qualified to assist with new builds, re-fits, damage and stability.
YDSA members are elected by their professional peers in recognition of their competency within the industry.