Please select your home edition
Edition
SW newsletters (top)

New research shows watersports participation is on the rise

by Becky Gilbert-Wood, RYA 16 Apr 11:00 PDT
RYA Family Adventure © Emily Whiting

According to new research released today (15 April 2019), more people are participating in watersports, a trend that has continued for the past three years.

The annual Watersports Participation Survey showed that approximately 3.9m UK adults took part in one or more of 12 core boating activities' in 2018. The overall activity rise of around 1.1% on the previous year, is thanks in part to 2018 being the UK's joint hottest summer on record.

This equates to a volume increase of 700,000 people, with the highest participation rates for any activity coming from family groups. The number of young people and women also increased significantly in 2018.

Of the boating activities, canoeing was the most popular, with 2.1m people going paddling at least once a year, in canoes, kayaks or stand up paddleboards. The number of people who own boats has increased by around 800,000, since the beginning of the survey which is in large part due to more people owning canoes and kayaks. However, the most popular activities overall, remain the ones that are most accessible, without the need for any training or equipment.

This is a continued trend for the wider industry and flags an opportunity and need for clubs to diversify their offer and address changing demands. Committed to increasing participation through addressing the current trends affecting boating, the RYA have recently launched the 'Future of Sailing' webinar series.

Aimed at clubs, class associations and anyone who has an interest in the future of sailing, the thought-provoking sessions feature key findings from the Futures Project, commissioned by British Marine, with topics ranging from pay on demand boating and modern communications to the diversification of club activity.

RYA Director of Sport Development, Alistair Dickson commented: "We're delighted to see that there is a continued rise in the number of people getting out on the water and enjoying boating and watersports. It's also encouraging to see more women and young people taking part in regular activity too.

"This is a significant opportunity for RYA clubs and Recognised Training Centres as it shows people are looking to spend more time outside and on the water. However, it also again highlights the need to offer more accessible and low-commitment forms of watersports as a stepping stone into more mainstream boating. There are lots of examples of clubs who have done this to good effect through our Futures webinar series over the winter and we remain committed to helping clubs, centres and class associations navigate through this change."

The Watersports Participation Survey is conducted annually by a consortium of leading marine bodies including British Marine, Royal Yachting Association (RYA), Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), British Canoeing (BC) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).

An executive summary of the report is available here.

Find out more about the RYA Sports Participation Programmes here or visit rya.org.uk. For more information about the Futures webinars series visit rya.org.uk/go/futureswebinars.

The 12 core boating activities' covers small sail boat racing, other small sail boat activities, yacht racing, yacht cruising, power boating, general motor boating/cruising, canal boating, canoeing, rowing/sculling, windsurfing, water skiing and wakeboarding and using personal watercraft.

Related Articles

Trinity House RYA Yachtmaster Scholarship
£30,000 scholarship fund already having an impact One year on, the scholarship has seen grants awarded to eight deserving individuals, aiding career progression through opportunities for further training. Posted on 15 Aug
Introducing great new Musto & Helly Hansen offers
Exclusively for RYA members The RYA is delighted to welcome back Musto as a Member Reward Partner, as well as introducing new partner, Helly Hansen, both offering exclusive discounts to RYA members. Posted on 13 Aug
New RYA safety video delivers stark message
Always ensure the kill cord is attached to the driver of the boat Power boat drivers will be left in no doubt of the vital role the kill cord can play in keeping people safe should they experience difficulties on the water. Posted on 7 Aug
FREE Southampton International Boat Show ticket
RYA member exclusive offer: There's still time to claim your free ticket Since launching the 2019 RYA member ticket offer to the Southampton International Boat Show some 3,750 members have taken advantage of the exclusive offer claiming their FREE ticket to the 2019 show. Posted on 7 Aug
RYA CGAC seeks new Chair
RYA role on the Cruising and Government Affairs Committee The RYA is now seeking a new Chair for its Cruising and Government Affairs Committee (CGAC) responsible for public policy. Whoever fills this important voluntary role must be able to bring out the best from the talented members of the committee. Posted on 6 Aug
Crowds 'learn to fly' at Foiling Week
More than 50 novice foilers took flight last week on Lake Garda For a second year, RYA Training Centre, the Andrew Simpson Centre (ASC) Lake Garda, put on a series of RYA 'First Flights' 90 minute taster sessions, aimed at beginner foilers. Posted on 19 Jul
Lewis Haig named RYA Yachtmaster of the Year 2018
For his exceptional demonstration of sailing skills during the exam Young Scotsman, Lewis Haig, has been named as the recipient of the RYA Yachtmaster™ of the Year award 2018, for his exceptional demonstration of sailing skills during his RYA Yachtmaster™ certificate of competence exam. Posted on 17 Jul
Red diesel consultation by HM Revenue and Customs
Implementation of the CJEU judgment on diesel fuel used in private pleasure craft HM Revenue and Customs is inviting views on, and seeking information about, proposed changes to the rules for red diesel used in private pleasure craft as a result of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Posted on 16 Jul
Clip on with care, new RYA video urges
Advice for boaters on how to attach safety lines You wouldn't drive, take a plane journey or tear around a roller coaster ride without being properly strapped in, so why tackle the waves without being secured to your boat? That's the safety message being delivered in a new RYA video. Posted on 14 Jul
In conversation with David 'Sid' Howlett
Mark Jardine talks with the Coach to Ben Ainslie, Andrew Simpson and more... Hear the story behind the medals as Mark Jardine talks to Olympic Sailing 'Coach To The Stars' David Howlett. Howlett has helped coach some of the sports biggest names to Gold, find out how in this in-depth interview into his career. Posted on 11 Jul
MBW newsletters (top)