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Up to four million adults now enjoy a diverse range of boating activities, the latest Watersports and Leisure Participation Survey reports.
This marks a significant increase on last year’s figure of 3.7million.
Participation has been fluctuating since 2002 and overall has recorded a small but steady decline.
However, this year’s figures take the participation rate back to levels last reported in 2004.
Seven of the 12 boating activities recorded in the survey have risen since 2006, including sailing and yacht cruising, racing and motor boating; canal boating recorded the biggest increase.
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The annual survey was conducted by the British Marine Federation Statistics and Market Research department in partnership with the MCA, RNLI and RYA. It is sponsored by Sunsail.
This is the sixth year that the report has been undertaken.
Key findings include:
– 7.84% of the adult population participated in a boating activity in 2007
– Canoeing remains the most popular individual boating activity, with over one million adults participating
– Whilst boating participation is still dominated by men, female participation has seen a steady increase
– Growth in participation was strongest in the 35 – 54 year old age group, although the report still shows that 16 – 34 year olds are the most likely to get involved in boating activities
– Apart from the use of personal watercraft, more adults participated in boating activity in the UK than abroad
– Within the UK the boating time spent is split almost equally between inland and coastal
The 2007 report also looks at more general leisure activities in and around the water, as well as the boating categories.
Taking all 21 activities into account it has been calculated that 14.7 million people participate in watersports and leisure activities. This figure demonstrates an increase on 13.8 million in 2006 and 12.9 million in 2005.
This headline figure represents almost a third of the UK adult population taking part in activities in and around our coasts and inland waterways.
Chief Executive Officer of the British Marine Federation, Rob Stevens, said: “The 2007 watersports participation study shows just how popular and important to the UK leisure market boating remains.
“With up to four million adults going boating and almost a third of all adults taking part in some form of activity in on around the water in 2007, it is important that all those who wish to are given the opportunity to take advantage of the fantastic facilities on offer around the country.
“We hope that participation continues to grow with more and more people interested in taking to the water.”
Download the report from the BMF website www.britishmarine.co.uk/statistics