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Economic Contribution of the Recreational Boater 

The RYA has published the results of a study it commissioned to better understand the economic contribution recreational boating makes to the UK and English economy.

The RYA currently has over 100,000 personal members, mostly choosing to go afloat for purely recreational non-competitive pleasure on coastal and inland waters. There are an estimated further 500,000 boat owners nationally, the majority of whom are members of over 1,500 RYA affiliated clubs and class associations.

The RYA also sets and maintains an international standard for recreational boat training through a network of over 2,200 RYA recognised training centres in 20 countries. On average, over 200,000 people per year complete RYA training courses.

Whilst large, these numbers do not represent the total number of individuals participating in recreational boating in the UK; many, many more people are boaters and not directly linked to the RYA in any way. The Arkenford Watersports Participation Survey (undertaken annually by the RYA and others) estimated that just over 2.8 million adults took part in boating activities in the UK in 2012.

Despite the obvious importance of boating to the UK in light of these figures, there is presently very little information available on the economic contribution of boating. This means that the economic impact of any restrictions on boating activity is probably being underestimated.

The RYA has commissioned an independent study which draws together economic data to help improve our understanding of the contribution recreational boating makes to the local and national economy. You can download the study from the right hand side of this page under “Related documents”.

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