Please select your home edition
Edition

New research shows watersports participation is on the rise

by Susie Nation-Grainer 21 Jun 12:07 BST
Watersports participation is on the rise © RYA

According to new research, there's been a massive growth in the number of people participating in watersports during the pandemic.

The annual Watersports Participation Survey 2021 shows that approximately 11.8m people took part in one or more of the boating activities* once or twice in 2021. This number has almost doubled since 2020.

The number of people taking part more frequently in on water activities (3+ times) has also increased slightly.

RYA Director of Sport Development Rob Clark explains: "During 2021, more than ever leisure time was being spent outdoors and with the severe restrictions on international travel, lots of people headed to the coast to make the most of the good weather".

"Although the report tells us that the number of regular participants has remained almost static, we've seen boating organisations, marinas and retailers remaining busy during the pandemic as they accommodate newcomers to the sport".

The activities which showed the biggest growth included personal watercraft, paddle sports and dinghy sailing.

The survey covers participation from October 2020-September 2021. A full year when the UK was dealing with the pandemic.

Read the Watersports Participation Survey 2021

Rob concludes "The survey highlights an opportunity for us to capitalise on the fact that people have been trying new activities afloat. Hopefully by supporting our clubs and centres we'll be able to create opportunities for newcomers to get back on the water and hopefully become regular participants.

"The research also supports the work with our affiliated venues to highlight and promote the diversity of activities they offer their customers".

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) Canal and River Trust and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).

To find all the information you need to get on the water this summer visit Start Boating 

* The core boating activities include 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

HRH The Princess Royal recognises volunteers
RYA celebrates exceptional commitment and achievements with awards Dedicated volunteers from across the UK have been awarded for their exceptional commitment and achievements in boating by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President of the RYA. Posted on 16 Nov
2022 RYA Affiliated Clubs Conferences
The countdown is now on and bookings are open The countdown is now on and bookings are open for the 2022 RYA Affiliated Clubs Conferences, with a busy schedule of free events taking place across the UK this winter. Posted on 12 Oct
RYA mourns the passing of Her Majesty The Queen
Condolences are with The Princess Royal, RYA President, and the entire Royal Family The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is deeply saddened by the loss of our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen. Our thoughts and condolences are with The Princess Royal, RYA President, and the entire Royal Family. Posted on 8 Sep
Expert advice from the RYA at SIBS 2022
From Yachtmaster to the new RYA wing training scheme, we can help to find the right course for you If you're visiting the Southampton International Boat Show (16-25 September), head to the RYA stand (J120) for all the knowledge and information you need to make the most of your time on the water. Posted on 27 Aug
Exclusive RYA member ticket offer for SIBS 2022
The 53rd edition of the show will feature everything the leisure marine industry has to offer The Southampton International Boat Show is just around the corner (16-25 September 2022) and RYA members can take advantage of an exclusive 'buy one get one free' ticket offer. Posted on 5 Aug
RYA reveals key appointments
Scott and Robinson to join forces at the helm of British racing Heralding a new era for RYA Racing, today sees the announcement that Nick Scott will be taking up the Director of Racing position this autumn and Mark Robinson MBE is assuming a new role as Performance Director. Posted on 3 Aug
Suella Braverman praises RYA's focus on safety
The local Conservative MP for Fareham visited Warsash Sailing Club on Friday Local Conservative MP for Fareham, Suella Braverman, visited Warsash Sailing Club on Friday (01 July) and met with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) to discuss safety initiatives within the sport. Posted on 5 Jul
Last chance to make a Volunteer Award nomination
An RYA Volunteer Award is the perfect way to say thank you Do you know a hardworking volunteer who really makes a difference in helping others get on the water? Whether it's mowing the lawn, helming the safety boat, running events or just getting stuck in wherever needed- it all counts. Posted on 30 Apr
Ian Walker to step down as RYA Racing Director
Ian oversaw the British Sailing Team's success at Tokyo 2020 The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has today confirmed that Ian Walker MBE will be stepping down from his position as RYA Racing Director. Posted on 14 Apr