A new research project being run by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) with the support of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is exploring attitudes towards risk and safety, and the various ways yacht sailors participate in their sport.
The research will look at what motivates sailors, how often they go to sea, their experience and training, awareness of potential hazards and use of safety procedures and equipment. The findings will be used to help develop tailored and relevant safety messages for yacht sailing community.
An online questionnaire is launching today (Thursday 9 October) and will run for five weeks, during which time anyone who participates in yacht sailing - no matter how often or what level of experience - is invited to visit http://www.rnliyachting.substance.coop/ and complete the short survey.
The survey will be supplemented by focus groups held in selected locations. The project will be undertaken by Substance research, on behalf of the RNLI.
Pip Hare, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager, explains the reasoning behind the research project: "The RNLI exists to save lives at sea - a large part of that role is trying to prevent incidents from happening in the first place by providing important safety information. RNLI incident data shows our lifeboat crews have rescued almost 9,850 yacht sailors in the last five years.
"We're always pleased to see people enjoying their leisure time at the coast and we want to help ensure they can take part in their chosen activity safely.
'The aim of this research is to help us understand why people get involved and how they behave when they are on the water so we can provide the most relevant and useful safety information to them. We're working with the RYA and MCA to join expertise in coastal safety with experience of the sport. Once we have the results of the research, we will work together to develop the most suitable safety programmes and advice.'
Stuart Carruthers, Cruising Manager at the RYA, commented: "Recreational boating activities are predominantly safe and fun, but accidents which could have been prevented do happen. The RYA's advice - look after yourself; have a plan; keep in touch and know your limits - underpin the RYA ethos of self-reliance and responsibility for safety on board. The RYA supports this research because it will provide a clearer insight of people's attitudes to their safety and help us to promote safe behaviour and practice in a more effective way."
Kirsten Pointer, Head of Evidence Analysis and Research from the MCA, adds: "The results of this survey will really help to provide an evidence base to support the improvement of yachting safety standards."
Those wishing to participate in the survey can visit http://www.rnliyachting.substance.coop/ from today (Thursday 9 October) to complete the short questionnaire.
All who participate in the survey are offered the option of free entry into a prize draw to win a McMurdo Fast Find personal locator beacon. A winner will be chosen at random by 15 November 2014. Full terms and conditions for the prize draw, as well as further information about the study, can also be found through the above link.