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The Results Are In and It Looks Good for Canoeing

The annual Watersports Participation Survey results have just been released and within it are some exciting figures for Canoeing.

The survey commissioned by leading bodies such as British Marine Federation, British Canoeing, Royal Yachting Association, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Marine Management Organisation, highlights the many different areas of Watersport Participation. This includes Participation in the UK, Boat Ownership, Participations by Gender and Age, Seasonal Participation and more, this can be useful when looking at possible ways to increase participation in Canoeing.

Overview of Key Facts

Out of any boating activities, canoeing came out on top with over 1.5 million adult UK residents participating last year alone. This is an increase on last year’s figures with 3.1% of adults now participating in canoeing. The overall participation in boating activities has remained at a similar level to 2013 with 7.1% of adults participating.

Female participation in any boating activity continues to rise. In canoeing Female participation rates are now at the highest they have been since the study began in 2002, a 56% increase in fact. With the help of the excellent Sport England This Girl Can campaign British Canoeing hope to continue to grow the numbers of women and girls enjoying canoeing as a sport and leisure activity.

There is also a steady increase in participation for the 55 plus age group. This has increased by 66% since 2002.

Over 320,000 households now own a canoe or kayak – an increase of 55% since the 2008/10 survey.

Facts of Participation

  • Overall participation rates for 2014 stand at 26.8% or around 13.1 million people in the UK.
  • Boating activity overall has increased since 2005, with canoeing showing the strongest performance.
  • The survey also highlighted some trends regarding location, showing that some areas have a significantly higher participation rate than others. The South Coast appears to dominate participation, which the Lake District and Merseyside also proving to be popular. London, Birmingham and the Peak District also had great levels of participation.
  • Looking at numbers, male participation in any activity is at around 6.7 million, while female participation is around 6.4 million.

Figures on Boat Ownership

  • The number of boat owning households have remained higher than records show in 2008 – 2010.
  • The number of actual boats/crafts per household had increased since 2011-2013.
  • Canoes and Kayaks now make up 47 % of owned boats/crafts
  • Canoeing is the most likely activity to own their craft.
  • Finally there were a few other areas of the extensive study, which highlighted some interesting information for canoeing.
  • Manual watersports, including canoeing are dominated by 16-34 yr olds currently.
  • Participation in canoeing is highest in those who are currently students, workers and parents.

It is fantastic to see such positive figures for our sport and at British Canoeing we aim to keep the figures increasing in the coming years.

About the Survey

Arkenford has continuously conducted the research since 2002 and therefore provides a unique picture of watersports participation in the UK over the last 13 years. It enables us to compare not only what happened over the last 12 months but also look at this in relation to the previous years.

To download the report please click here