Water sports in the UK - Statistics & Facts

In 2015, roughly 12.4 million people in the United Kingdom (UK) participated in a water sport activity. Most commonly they just spent leisure time at the beach, went for coastal walks or swam outside. Approximately 3.2 million people in the UK took part in a recreational boating activity. Of those who went boating, 20 percent took part in it on at least six occasions throughout the year.
When it comes to water sport activity events in the UK, the regions with the highest proportion of events were the South West with 23.6 percent of any water sport activity event having taken place in the UK, followed by the South East with 21.7 percent and Scotland with 12.3 percent. More than half of recreational boating participation takes place in summer and the share of people participating in any boating activity has gradually decreased from 8.2 percent in 2002 to 6.5 percent of the UK population.

Outdoor swimming participation was highest in the South West, East, South East and Northern Ireland, ranging between 13 and 14 percent of the population in these regions in 2014. The number of people participating in swimming in England steadily declined, from roughly 5.6 million in 2007 to approximately 4.2 million in 2016. The share of swimming participants in England who are members of a club increased slightly, from 3.3 percent in 2008 to 3.9 percent in 2016.

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