Good news as annual BMF survey reports UK participation growth

The UK’s Discovery Yachts is to expand production and take on new staff in Southampton following a year of record sales and news of increasing boating participation in the UK.

Founded by John Charnley in 1998, Discovery Yachts is a family-run builder of bluewater sailing yachts. The company operates from a purpose-built factory in Marchwood, Southampton.

In January, Discovery launched two new cruising yachts at the 2010 London International Boat Show – the Discovery 67 and Discovery 50 catamaran – and has a healthy order book over the next two years thanks to good sales of the Discovery 55 (pictured) at last year’s Southampton Boat Show.

Discovery’s announcement comes in the same week as the release of New figures by the British Marine Federation (BMF) showing that the number of people taking part in boating and other water-related activities increased in 2009.

Up to 3.7m UK adults participating in at least one of 12 boating activities, representing 7.2 per cent of the UK population, a slight increase compared to the previous year’s levels.

The Watersports and Leisure Participation Survey, now in its eighth year, covers activities such as canoeing, waterskiing, small sailboat activities, rowing, windsurfing, using personal watercraft, motorboating/cruising, yacht cruising, powerboating, small sailboat racing, canal boating and yacht racing.

Of all the boating activities, motorboating/cruising and canal boating show an upward trend in participation since 2002, with powerboating, yacht cruising and yacht racing showing stable participation trends.

The survey also found that 2.73 per cent of UK households own at least one boat or craft. This means an estimated 1.1m boats/craft are owned by UK households. On average, seven per cent of these are kept abroad.

“It is encouraging to see an increase in participation levels in boating, watersports and water-based leisure activities in 2009,” says Rob Stevens, chief executive of the BMF. “It is particularly welcome that a large amount of people are choosing to participate in the UK rather than abroad. The UK offers a diverse range of boating and water sports opportunities that are accessible to everyone.”