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RYA / PYA Voluntary Code of Practice for Watersports

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The intention of this document is to provide superyacht Captains and crew with a set of guiding principles that we hope will assist them in developing their own on board safety management guidelines for watersports.

The following pages are not intended to provide all the answers, but rather to assist you in knowing what questions to ask in determining how watersports activities will be managed on board your vessel. Further advice should be sought from national governing bodies or industry groups for activities that are not covered here.


Captains are employed in their roles primarily for their expertise in safely running the vessel on which they are employed. Their training and their experience revolves around the safe operation of the vessel and the equipment needed to safely run it.

Increasingly superyachts will have on board a wide variety of toys for guests to enjoy during their time on board. These may be personal watercraft, kayaks, sailing dinghies, windsurfers, stand up paddle boards or hover boards. Equally onboard activities may also include snorkeling, sea bobs and SCUBA diving or possibly even the use of small submarines. Every year new toys arrive on the market and find their way onto more and more superyachts.

In many cases neither the captain nor crew have much, if any experience in the use of this watersports equipment and in most cases they have little experience in managing the actual on water activities. This has the effect of placing both guests and crew at risk, by potentially allowing activities to take place without the appropriate safety management systems in place.

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Effective management of water sports activities not only ensures the safety of your guests but also increases their enjoyment. By having a basic understanding of the principles involved crew will be able to deliver sessions that are not only fun but also result in guests gaining a sense of achievement through learning new skills. This guide provides a basic framework from which you can build your operating procedures. This guidance is adapted from the established practices developed by the RYA over many years of providing water sports training courses.

On board a superyacht, there is often a need to run less formal water sports sessions without the desire for qualified instructors or end of course qualifications. These guidance notes are provided to assist in the development of strategies to ensure, where reasonably possible, that sessions reflect established practice. 

Read the full report: Superyacht Voluntary Code of Practice for Watersports

*Thumbnail image courtesy of Pixabay

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