Big rise in watersports activity by Brits in the last year
New research has revealed the extent to which British people have embraced watersports in the last year. A survey from the British Marine Federation shows that an incredible 3.5 million British adults had a go at a range of watersports in 2013, compared to 2.8 million adults in 2012.
It is now expected that the publicity and vast array of free events being laid on as part of National Watersports Month this May will boost these figures further, and drive a great deal of fresh interest in sailing, rowing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, paddle boarding and more.
The annual campaign stages over 400 free events, spearheaded by the country’s leading watersports and boating organisations, Go Canoeing, British Rowing, Royal Yachting Association, British Marine Federation and British Water Ski and Wakeboard.
Stuart Bithell, Olympic Sailing Silver medallist and Sophie Weguelin, Team GBR sailor kicked off National Watersports Month by trying out a different watersport to the one they know (image above).
Setting the tone for the summer
In the wake of a very successful summer 2013 season - the warmest summer recorded for six years - a consortium of marine organisations has seen a significant rise in the number of Brits trying out activities such power boating, sailing, canal boating and rowing, with an increase of 23% (700,000 adults) in 2013 compared to 2012.
Combined with the improving economic story across the marine sector and the Olympic legacy of Team GB success, it’s expected that the summer of 2014 will see a record number of people participating in water activities.
How National Watersports Month will help
The National Watersports Month initiative aims to target both seasoned boaters but also beginners, getting them onto the water to try out a range of activities including canoeing, sailing, rowing, windsurfing, kayaking and stand up paddle-boarding . Selected watersports clubs and centres across the UK will welcome people of all ages to take part in a programme of free events. It is hoped that trying these activities will whet the appetites of families and groups of friends looking for fun ideas of what to do during the summer holidays.
Olympic sailing silver medallist, Stuart Bithell said: “Ahead of the summer break, National Watersports Month in May is a great way for people to dip their toes in the water and give it a go, with a range of open days, taster sessions and have a go lessons on offer. From St Austell in Cornwall to Argyll & Bute in Scotland, the month long campaign will be giving people across the country the chance to try something new, or simply breathe life back into an old hobby.”
Howard Pridding, CEO of the British Marine Federation, commented; “National Watersports Month is a great opportunity for the industry to showcase the wide spectrum of activities on offer throughout the UK, suitable for the whole family to try out. Finding ways of keeping the children entertained during the long summer holidays can be tricky, by introducing families to new water activities now we hope it will encourage more people to take to the British waterways and seas during the school break.”
Helen Grant, Minister for Sport and Tourism said; “From canoeing to sailing, rowing to stand up paddle-boarding, there is a huge range of opportunities across the country during National Watersports Month. I encourage people to go out and try a new sport, experience some of our lovely water ways and support the British businesses who are the backbone of our marine leisure industry.”
To see a full list of events visit www.onthewater.co.uk, or follow @WatersportsMont on Twitter.