Drinking from the half full glass

Published on June 21st, 2022

According to new research in the United Kingdom, 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 11.7m people took part in one or more of the boating activities* more than once from October 2020 to September 2021. This number has risen by almost double since 2020.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA), which is the national governing body for sailing and other water sports, reports 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 organizations, 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 highlights an opportunity for us to capitalize on the fact that people have been trying new activities afloat,” notes Clark. “Hopefully by supporting our clubs and centers we’ll be able to create opportunities for newcomers to get back on the water and hopefully become regular participants.

To read the Watersports Participation Survey 2021, click here.

* 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.

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