A rising number of women and people over 55 are getting into boating, according to the latest survey from the British Marine Federation

Whilst any survey that shows more people getting into boating is good news as far as we’re concerned, the latest survey from the BMF is particularly interesting.

The figures, released this week by the industry body, show a boom in two particular demographics: women and people aged over 55.

The proportion of women involved in boating activities has risen steadily over the past few years and is now at 6.2% of the population, the joint-highest level since the BMF began gathering this type of data in 2002.

However, this is still lower than the figure for men, 7.1% of whom go boating. What’s more 2% of men are classed as ‘boating enthusiasts’ that go boating more than six times per year, compared with just 1% of women.

Another trend to emerge from the BMF survey is the number of older people getting into boating, with a 66% rise in over-55s compared with the original 2002 survey.

Other age groups have all held steady, showing that the recent rise in boating activity has been largely driven by the baby boomer generation.

All in all, there are 1.2 million boat owners in the UK, although almost half of that number are canoe and kayak owners, and only 82,799 are motor boat owners.

Howard Pridding, chief executive of the BMF, said: “The figures for the number of people participating in boating and watersports are encouraging but there’s also plenty of room for growth.

“Getting out on the water is a hugely enjoyable pastime whether you’re a casual participant or much more of an enthusiast, and the marine industry is in great shape to provide plenty of opportunities to enable this.”

The annual Watersports Participation Survey is put together by the BMF, British Canoeing, Marine Management Organisation, the RNLI, the RYA and the Coastguard.