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Recreational boating in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts

Recreational boating is the leisurely activity of travelling by boat, or the recreational use of a boat. Approximately 3.9 million UK adults participated in a boating activity in 2018, constituting 7.3 percent of the population.

Around 690 thousand households in the UK own a boat, of which roughly half are either a canoe or a kayak. Boating participation in the UK mostly remained stable, 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.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the national governing body for dinghy, yacht and motor cruising, all forms of sail racing, RIBs and sportsboats, windsurfing and personal watercraft and a leading representative for inland waterways cruising. In 2018, the estimated potential membership in the RYA was given as approximately 276.8 thousand members. In addition to the popularity of recreational boating amongst the British population, the boat and shipbuilding industries make up a significant share of the economy within the UK and elsewhere across Europe. In 2018, there were 932 boat and ship building enterprises in the UK, contributing almost six billion U.S. dollars worth of revenue to the industry. In contrast to many other European countries the UK's boat and shipbuilding industry is projected to see a decline in revenue to approximately 5.6 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.

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Recreational boating in the United Kingdom

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Royal Yachting Association (RYA)


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