The ISA has initiated the process of reviewing our 2020 Vision Strategy. We would like you to share how you feel about the current operation of the ISA as well as any ideas you have so that we can work to improve our services for the benefit of all our members in the future.
Please try to complete as many questions as you can. It should take no more than 5 minutes. All feedback must be received before Tuesday the 8th of October 2013.
If you feel some issues have been omitted please feel free to comment.
The ISA 2020 Vision is the ISA’s third strategic plan. Launched in 2008 at a time when the economic and social environment was significantly different, the plan aims to build on the foundations laid down and established by the first two plans, where we aimed to strengthen the organisation and expand our activities to serve the interests of all the recreational boating community involved with engine and sail powered craft.
This is a long term visionary plan incorporating a series of shorter term three year plans prioritising work programmes to coincide with each ISA President’s term.
This plan is aimed at growth:
Growing the Sport by making access to boating easier, increasing participation, improving standards of sailing and managing legislation.
Growing the Membership by developing membership services, targeting existing and new membership groups and developing the ISA brand.
Growing the Organisation by communicating what the organisation is about, promoting the benefits, getting local presence on the ground regionally, maximising use of technology and growing revenue.
The economic period 2008 – 2013 coupled with a string of bad summers (weather wise) has been particularly challenging for ISA Clubs and Training Centres, and whilst half of ISA clubs have managed to maintain or grow their membership in that period, growth has not been achieved by many - particularly the larger clubs who between them have lost 30% of their members during this time. This has resulted in a combined drop in ISA club membership of 24% (taking into account increases in the smaller clubs).
ISA commercial Training Centres have also experienced similar challenges, resulting in a similar drop in ISA course participants.
Funding for the ISA’s Olympic programme is supported separately by the Irish Sports Council, and this programme has no financial impact on the Core operations of the ISA. During this period sports council support for the Olympic Programme has grown from €450,000 in 2008 to €650,000 in 2012.
How has the ISA responded?
Largely as a result of circumstances mentioned above, the ISA has not achieved its aim of growth, it has however introduced a number of initiatives and programmes in recent years to help to manage the current climate.
Legislation - The threat of legislation was flagged strongly as a threat to the freedom of access we currently enjoy within our sport, and has potential to severely restrict access and increase costs of participation. During the boom years, powerboats and personal watercraft numbers expanded rapidly, many without any training or knowledge of responsible and safe use. This immediately became the target of regulation and the ISA responded by taking the initiative to establish itself as the National Authority for Powerboating activities. In doing so ISA was able to start to educate newcomers to powerboating, whilst at the same time speak with credibility and authority to the Marine Survey Office and the 33 Local Authorities establishing bye-laws, largely with the initial intent to ban fast power craft (and in so doing banning race management and safety boats for sailing activities).
In addition the ISA introduced services to support and protect the interests of Clubs and Training Centres. Garda vetting, code of ethics training, adventure activities licensing, passenger boat licensing, small craft register are all areas the ISA has done a significant amount of work on in recent years.
Local support – During the consultation phase for the 2020 Vision, there was very strong feedback that the ISA should be in a position to provide more localised support to its clubs. Despite the period of reduced resource and revenue, the ISA has managed to roll out a Regional Development Programme, with two full time RDO’s delivering targeted support locally, assisting with recruitment and participation initiatives, sourcing local funding, liaising with local authorities etc. This has been received with great enthusiasm from clubs that have taken advantage of the programme.
Increasing Participation – Largely through the Regional Development Programme, the ISA has introduced a number of participation programmes that are being run by Clubs and Training Centres with the aim of raising awareness of the sport, making it more accessible and ultimately increasing numbers of participants and introducing new members. Current initiatives / programmes include: SailSpree, Women on the Water Ireland, SailFleet Dinghies, Schools Programme, Disabled Sailing Programme and the Powerboat Challenge
Cara na Mara – The ISA is competing for membership with other sports that have advantages of costs, facilities, resources and above all, the ability of introducing children at an early age. Traditionally youngsters were introduced to sailing at 8 or 9 years of age. Earlier this year the ISA launched the Cara na Mara programme which enables Clubs and Training Centres to introduce children to the sport from 6 years upwards, with more flexibility for delivery and costs built in. This has been welcomed by the organisations that ran the programme over the summer.
Communications – Communications is an area the ISA identified as one of its weaknesses. The priority for this plan was to establish a Communications Department within the ISA’s professional team. This has been achieved through internal up-skilling of existing staff. As the ISA has no database of individual members, the strategy has always been to rely on Clubs to pass on ISA communication to its members (with varying degrees of success). The ISA only has contact details of those that actively engage with ISA services (boat owners, instructors, club committees, race officials etc.). The ISA now has migrated its database online, and has integrated it with the ISA website. This has allowed internet based functionality to be used to communicate through the use of ezines, social media etc.
Motorboat Development – In order to develop the strategy to establish ourselves as the National Authority for Powerboating activities, we successfully applied to the Irish Sports Council to support the recruitment of a Motorboat Development Officer (MDO). The MDO initially set about establishing a relationship with Local Authorities to help them draft their bye-laws, and set up the infrastructure to support Powerboat Racing activities. The former is now within the remit of the Regional Development Officers, and the latter within the remit of the ISA Racing Department.
Olympic Performance – The Olympic Programme is funded exclusively by a combination of the Irish Sports Council (ring fenced specifically for this programme), sponsorship, and sailors own contributions. The ISA recognises the value of success at Olympic Games as being a catalyst for growth in the sport nationally (boxing being a prime example), and has over the last two Olympic cycles developed a structure that has undoubtedly improved performance on the world stage at all levels, and ultimately aims to deliver an Olympic medal in the future.
Media Profile – Sailing still suffers from the stigma of being elitist, and this is particularly reflected in the attitude of the media and as a result the media profile of sailing has been weak. The ISA through the newly established Communications Department have worked hard to change this perception and increase the media profile of our sport, in particular targeting Olympic and international events.
Advisory Groups – The ISA until recently used a system of working groups to help with the development of particular projects. As part of our efforts to improve communications and engage more meaningfully with our membership, the ISA has set up a number of advisory groups to support the work of the ISA on a more permanent basis. We now have established; the Communications Advisory Group, the Dinghy and Small Keelboat Advisory Group, Training Advisory Group, Race Officials Advisory Group, and the Olympic Steering Group.