The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has announced the appointment of Howard Pridding in the role of interim Director of External Affairs.

No stranger to recreational boating, Pridding previously worked in a variety of roles at British Marine for over 27 years and served as Chief Executive for more than five of those. Having taken the decision to seek new opportunities, Pridding is joining the RYA later this month and will head up the Cruising, Legal and Government Affairs division.

Pridding has built his knowledge and deep understanding of the boating industry and has played a leading role in representing the industry to politicians, government officials and the media. As such, he has a wide network of contacts within parliament, government departments and strategic partner organisations that will stand him in excellent stead to build on the RYA’s lobbying successes as the Brexit negotiations continue.

In his new role, Pridding will work closely with the Chief Executive and senior management team to ensure that recreational boating interests are represented effectively and that Government, in all its forms, takes full account of the sector’s activities when balancing competing interests. The role has been appointed for an interim period of six months to enable a review of the existing structure and accountabilities of the Cruising, Legal and Government Affairs team.

The Director of External Affairs role also has an ambassadorial role as spokesperson for the recreational boating industry, the RYA’s 111,000 valued members, and the organisation.

RYA Chief Executive, Sarah Treseder, said: “We welcome Howard’s vast experience in the boating sector. It’s an important time for the recreational boating community, as we consider how the sector will be impacted by Brexit from 2021 – including in relation to customs procedures, border controls on recreational craft, seasonal cruising and the ability of those who hold RYA qualifications to easily work elsewhere in the EU on a seasonal basis.

“Howard understands the issues that may impact on the sector and is well-placed to continue our dialogue with government to argue for a Brexit deal which does not impose unreasonable customs costs, as well as additional disruption and red tape, on recreational boaters every time they travel between the UK and EU.”

Commenting on his appointment, Pridding said: “This is a great opportunity to lead a professional and dedicated team who deliver quality services for the Association’s members and represent the recreational boating industry professionally.

“The Cruising, Legal and Government Affairs team has a broad remit – ranging from providing legal advice on all aspects of boating to advising on issues relating to 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. So I’m looking forward to a busy and challenging six months at the RYA.”