I think historically that the RYA were not truly representative of motorboating and it played second fiddle to yachting & small boat sailing, today though I think it is different and there are a variety of reasons for this.
Before commenting further I should admit a vested interest insofar as I am Principal of an RYA powerboat/shorebased school & a Powerboat Trainer, that said despite this I’m big enough & ugly enough to form my own views and therefore and always quite happy to throw in my thoughts – good & bad – on aspects of the RYA.
As you are no doubt aware the pro-bono work McKinsey did for the RYA a year or two ago made it clear to the RYA (note they do not actually now use the term ‘Royal Yachting Association’ very often – seemingly a conscious decision for just the reason touched on by others above) that motorboating/powerboating was the real growth area going forward but it was not adequately represented internally versus sailing. The result was Jon Mendez’s appointment as Chief Powerboat & Motorboat Instructor. Change always takes a while to permeate through but my understanding from speaking to a variety of people at the RYA is that there is now no way powerboating is secondary, courses are being overhauled (The National Powerboat Scheme is being overhauled & updated) and the lobbying that occurs to prevent more regulation is done equally in the name of all boaters (I was actually surprised to find out how much time is spent ensuring other bodies do not impose inappropriate regulation on us)
So overall I think on balance the RYA does represent us well, it can do a host of things better but the key (in my view) to improving is a realisation that change is needed and there is no doubt in my mind that that process is ongoing. The burden of fighting the increasing legislation impacting all aspects of life is too onerous for motorboaters & sailors to fight individually so I for one advocate the RYA as the right people to represent motorboating with the caveat that we must make sure they know what we think & want. Jon is very approachable and has listened to plenty of my suggestions & thoughts and I know is keen to hear everyone’s views (I’m sure he’d love your emails firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t mean to sound like a walking billboard for the RYA but having given Rodd Carr a hard time at the Boatshow a couple of years ago credit where credit is due and I have see first hand the change starting & continuing to occur so lets hope the RYA do continue to act for us else boating will be a less fun and more onerous pastime.