Green focus at Pennine SC recognised in RYA Club of the Year awards

Pennine SC has been presented with a Certificate of Commendation in the RYA Club of the Year awards in recognition of its commitment to the environment and sustainability.

The RYA and Sailing Today with Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards, supported by Gallagher, recognised the outstanding achievement of sailing clubs across the UK at theRYA Dinghy & Watersports Show presented by Suzuki at Farnborough International on Saturday, 25 February 2023.

Otley SC in West Yorkshire was among 12 regional finalists shortlisted for the Club of the Year title by the RYA Awards Panel – read about Otley SC’s success here – and Pennine SC in South Yorkshire  earned a special mention and certificate for its environmental work.

Commodore Steve Walker said: “We’re really pleased to have received a Certificate of Commendation and going forward we are committed to ensuring that environmental issues continue to be high on the agenda for the club.”

Volunteer-run Pennine SC is based at Winscar Reservoir in the Peak District National Park near Holmfirth and has been tackling a number of green projects across all of its activities.


The club has devised an environmental policy and created an environmental officer role, putting in place a comprehensive action plan which has included:

  • Ethical removal and recycling of 400 tyres in the boat park
  • Sourcing environmentally-friendly materials for re-cladding the clubhouse
  • Promoting clubhouse energy efficiency, including adding timers to switches and LED lighting
  • Removal of single-use plastics and polystyrene trays from the galley
  • Reviewing fuel usage by RIBS and encouraging more efficient driving
  • Introducing a small wind generator to charge the batteries on the tractor
  • Removing and reducing unnecessary use of plastic electrical tape on boats
  • Holding all committee meetings on Zoom to reduce the need for travel, heating and lighting
  • Applying for grants to install solar panels to move away from LPG gas
  • Looking at how to extend areas set aside for wildlife

The club has been liaising closely with its landlords, Yorkshire Water, and working Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University sailing clubs who are based at Pennine SC. Students from both have been enthusiastically supporting the club, with Sheffield University Sailing Club achieving a Gold Award in The Green Club University Sailing Sustainability Challenge 2023.

Pennine Sailing Club view from the water


Members and visitors are already benefiting from visual and practical improvements to the clubhouse and grounds. Replacing tyres which collect water with purpose-built blocks for raising boats, for example, has resulted in fewer midges in summer.

The forward-looking club has also reduced its utility and fuel costs and expects there to be further savings in the future as it looks to install solar power for the clubhouse.

As Steve explains: “A couple of years ago we appointed an Environmental Officer and it’s been useful to have a person dedicated to the role on the committee because it gives you a focus.

“We’ve removed all single-use plastics from the club, improved the environment by removing the tyres which used to be a breeding ground for midges, and have already reduced our energy costs which is even more important now that everything has gone up in price.

“The work now continues and we have a noticeboard in the clubhouse which raises awareness among members, explains our aims and what we’ve delivered so far, and outlines our future plans.”

Find out more about Pennine SC or visit the club’s upcoming open day on Sunday 7 May.

Go green

If your club or centre is keen to go green, there is a wealth of online and downloadable resources at The Green Blue, the joint RYA and British Marine programme to promote sustainable boating.

Resources range from guides to develop an action plan or environmental policy, to awareness-raising toolkits, posters and signage, educational activities and checklists for running events.

There is also information for facilities and operations with topics including energy and water, catering, pollution control, waste management, biosecurity, wildlife and habitats.

If your club or centre is located in the RYA North East region and looking at new ways to embrace the environment and sustainability, get in touch as we’d love to hear about it!

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