The first annual Affiliated Club Membership Census (Survey) was conducted in 2013, and repeated in 2014, 2015 and 2016, with 'Insights' created for each year available on the website

Once again the census will begin in June and will be completed online, making it easier for clubs to submit their responses and enable us to feedback the Insights far more promptly. 

The information we gather from the census, along with data from other sources such as the Watersports Participation Survey, and the RYA Club Member Survey helps us to build a clearer picture of some of the issues affecting clubs and their membership.  

Some headline observations from the 2016 Census: 

  • Overall, the number of club members in England has increased by 3.4% since 2013, but shows a very slight decline (-1%) from 2015 to 2016. Level of Confidence: High 
  • Club membership has increased in the South and London & South East regions. Other regions are static or experiencing slight decline. Level of Confidence: Medium 
  • Churn rates (the overall proportion of club membership which leaves in any particular year) have increased. Level of Confidence: Low
  • Some of the larger RYA regions which have increased significance in the context of overall participation rates for the sport are exhibiting some adverse trends, which we intend to monitor closely. Level of Confidence: Medium 
  • There is a substantial amount of latent capacity within the English club network and the clubs have a high level of aspiration to grow their membership. Level of Confidence: High 

This year we are looking to collect the following information from our affiliated clubs:     

  • Total number of members at the club,  
  • Number of family memberships and juniors, 
  • Male /female split,     
  • Whether the membership at your club has increased, decreased or stayed about the same over the past two years, and possible reasons for the change,  
  • The number of new club members and those not renewing membership,     
  • The membership capacity at your club, limiting factors and aspirations,  
  • The percentage of club members that identify themselves as having a disability or being from a minority ethnic group,  

We are still finalising the census questions but you can download a draft of the full list of questions. You will only be asked to answer relevant questions based on your responses. 

Our aspiration is to be able to feedback to you any key observations or learnings arising, at the Regional Affiliated Club Conferences in the autumn and via publication of an ‘Insight pack’.

The rationale

We hope that by taking this approach we can gather valuable information about affiliated clubs which will enable us to place our support and resources in areas that will help to ensure the success of clubs in both the short and long term.

Collecting this information annually will enable us to identify trends and take appropriate action in good time.

In short, the more comprehensive the information you supply the more insightful and intelligent we can be about advising and supporting your clubs going forwards.

How to complete the census

In early June each club will receive an e-mail containing the link to the online Census. This will come from the e-mail address, so please add this address to your contacts list so the e-mail doesn't end up in your spam folder.

Deadline for responses - 14th August 2017

Each year we aim to achieve at least an 85% response rate, to ensure that the Insights we draw from the information are robust and credible. 

To enable us to analyse the data and create the Insights document in time for the conferences and workshops taking place in the autumn, we ask that you complete the survey by the 14th August.

Prize Draw 

Each club completing the census before midnight on 14th August 2017 will be entered into a prize draw. 

One club will then be selected at random to receive a £500 prize of their choice, and two additional clubs will each receive a £250 prize.

What do you need to do?

Please have a look at the draft questions and take time between now and the beginning of June, to ensure that your club membership records are up-to-date and make it easier to fill in the Census.

If you have any questions regarding the census please e-mail