Watersports activities: participation in the United Kingdom (UK) 2005-2018

In a survey, conducted annually from 2015 to 2018, the share of people participating in any form of watersport in the United Kingdom (UK) was established. According to the survey, overall tendencies towards watersports increased gradually from a quarter of the population in 2005 to roughly 31.8 percent in 2018 with some up and downs in between. Overall the most popular activities are spending leisure time at the beach, coastal walking, swimming and recreational boating.


Swimming participation has slightly decreased in England to roughly 4.5 million people who go swimming at least twice a month. However, overall in the UK, outdoor swimming participation has gradually increased from 4.2 million people in 2015 to 6.1 million people in 2018, who went swimming outdoors at least once during the year.

Recreational boating

Around 690 thousand households in the UK own a boat, of which roughly half are either a canoe or a kayak and about a fifth are sailboats, followed by motor boats and windsurfers. Boating participation in the UK kept stable with slight fluctuation with approximately 7.3 percent of people in the UK going boating in 2018. The majority of boating in the UK takes place in the South East and West, followed by Scotland and the North West.

Participation in any watersports activities in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2005 to 2018

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Release date

April 2019


United Kingdom

Survey time period

2005 to 2018

Number of respondents

12,790 respondents

Method of interview

Omnibus survey

Supplementary notes

* Value for the year 2010 was not given.

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Statistics on "Water sports in the United Kingdom (UK)"

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