Up to 3.2 million UK adults enjoy boating in 2008

The latest Watersports and Leisure Participation report commissioned by BMF, MCA, RNLI and RYA and sponsored by YBW.com has been published for 2008. This is the seventh year that this annual survey has been conducted, presenting an accurate view on participation levels of UK adults, the sample size being a robust 12,000 people.

In 2008, 6.2% of those surveyed participated in at least one of the 12 boating activities* which compares to 7.84% in 2007. This demonstrates that up to 3.2 million UK adults participate in these boating activities at home and abroad.

When measuring the 21 wider boating and water-based leisure activities#, 23% of those surveyed have participated during 2008 (29.63% in 2007), meaning up to 11.6 million UK adults.

There has been no significant change from 2007 in participation for six activities: personal watercraft, yacht cruising, canoeing, power boating, kite surfing and leisure sub aqua diving. The remaining activities have experienced a fall in numbers when compared to 2007, most notably for spending general leisure time at the beach, outdoor swimming and coastal walking.

However, the average number of times people participate in most activities has seen an increase suggesting that committed participants have continued their activities and that the decrease in participation is driven by a reduction in casual participation.

Interestingly, 2.68% of those surveyed report that their household owns at least one boat or craft. Therefore an estimated one million boats/ craft are owned by UK households (including rowing and canoes). Of these, an average 7% are kept abroad.

Such declines in participation have never previously been seen during the seven year period in which we have monitored participation. It is suggested that unfavourable weather conditions alongside the current economic climate make up the main contributions for this decline.

Other findings include:
- Males show higher participation rates in almost all activities, although the trend for female participation in boating activities has increased over the last seven years.

- The 16-34 year old age group is the most likely to get involved in boating activities, however there is an overall declining trend for this group. The 35-54 and 55+ age groups are slowly but steadily increasing their participation.

- The socio-economic group AB has the highest participation rate in 15 of the 21 activities, whilst the C1 group represents the highest number of actual participants in the majority of activities due to its larger overall size.

- Student/workers in a house share and couples under 55 have the highest participation rate for the majority of activities, whilst adults in families account for the greatest actual number of participants.

For more information, specific to boat types and detail on demographics, please download the full report from the BMF website: www.britishmarine.co.uk/research.

* The 12 boating activities making up "Any Boating Activity" includes small sail boat racing, small sail boat activities, yacht racing, yacht cruising, power boating, motor boating/cruising, using personal watercraft, rowing, canoeing, canal boating, water skiing and windsurfing.

# The 21 activities making up "Any Activity" includes all of the boating activities above plus surfboarding, angling from the shore, angling from a boat, outdoor swimming, leisure sub aqua diving, cliff climbing, coastal walking, spending general leisure time at the beach and kitesurfing.

Date Added - 10-Mar-2009

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