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Share of people participating in canoeing in the UK 2014-2018

This statistic displays the results of a survey on the share of people participating in watersports in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2014 to 2018.


Canoeing is an activity which involves paddling a canoe, typically described as an open-topped narrow boat, with a single-bladed paddle. Frequently the term canoe is erroneously used to refer to both canoeing and kayaking, with a canoe instead being called an Open or Canadian canoe. Canoes are widely used for in both professional and recreational circumstances, such as competition racing, white-water, touring and camping, freestyle, and general recreation. Canoes-like vessels were developed by cultures all over the world and until the mid-1800s was an important means of transport for exploration and trade. Although in some places it still is used as such however most contemporary canoeing is undertaken as or as a part of a sport or recreational activity.


The water sports participation survey is conducted annually by a consortium of leading marine bodies, including British Canoeing, British Marine, Royal Yachting Association, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. In 2018 over 3.9 million people participated in one or more of 12 core boating activities, constituting 7.3 percent of respondents. Canoeing exhibited the greatest number of participants out of these 12 boating activities with 3.3 percent of respondents stated that they participated in canoeing. Excluding the high volume activities such as spending time at the beach, coastal walking and outdoor swimming; canoeing exhibited the greatest number of participants of any activity. The 12 core boating activities includes canoeing, small sail boat racing, other small sail boat activities, yacht racing, yacht cruising, power boating, general motor boating and cruising, canal boating, rowing or sculling, windsurfing, water skiing and wakeboarding and using personal watercraft. With the exception of yacht cruising, windsurfing and using personal watercraft Participation in almost all of the individual activities has increased in the past 10 years.

Share of people participating in canoeing in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2014 to 2018

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Release date

April 2019


United Kingdom

Survey time period

2014 to 2018

Number of respondents


Special properties

nationally representative sample.

Method of interview

Omnibus survey

Supplementary notes

* Sample size n2017= 12,730, n2016= 12,625, n2015=12,739; n2014 = 12,320

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