Sheesh!, this one comes around as often as Dan Cooper & hole drilling. I am a member of the RYA, through choice, because I want to. It's not a perfect organisation by any stretch, it is VERY WAFI orientated BUT; it's a pressure group, it's all we've got WRG to a voice. Ultimately us & WAFIS want the same thing, free unencumbered access to the water with a minimum of regulation. We are without doubt the least regulated country in Europe when it comes to leisure boating, & the RYA has played a pretty large part in maintaining this. The RYA acts as a nuclear deterrent to anyone wishing to impose controls or restrictions on our boating activities. You may not think the RYA does much for you personally, but if you look at the leisure boating political landscape here in the UK, most of it has been protected by the RYA. If anyone can make a buck out of us, they will, be it local councils, national park authorities, harbour authorities, national govt. PLA etc. Without the RYA this lot would just walk all over us, MPs & joe public wouldn't give a f**k, why should he, it's only a bunch of rich boaters with too much money.
Personally I'm in no doubt that without the RYA we'd have compulsory boat licensing & registration (renewable annually at an extortionate cost, a la France) Compulsory personal licensing, light dues for leisure boaters etc etc.
<end rant mode>
Rule#2: Never argue with an idiot. He'll drag you down to his level & then beat you with experience.
Rule#3: Tha' can't educate pork.
Rule#4: See rule#5