National Watersports Month begins

Today (May 1st) marks the beginning of a key moment in the sporting calendar – National Watersports Month. Taking place throughout May, the annual event will see more than 400 free events staged by the country’s leading watersports and boating organisations: Go Canoeing, British Rowing, Royal Yachting Association, British Marine Federation and British Water Ski and Wakeboard.

Following the warmest summer recorded for six years, a consortium of marine organisations has seen a significant rise in the number of Brits trying out activities such power boating, sailing, canal boating and rowing, with an increase of 23 per cent (700,000 adults) in 2013 compared to 2012. Combined with the improving economic story across the marine sector and the Olympic legacy of Team GB success, it’s expected that the summer of 2014 will see a record number of people participating in water activities.

The National Watersports Month initiative aims to target both keen boaters and also beginners, getting them out onto the water to try out a range of activities including canoeing, sailing, rowing, windsurfing, kayaking and stand up paddle-boarding. During the month, selected watersports clubs and centres across the UK will welcome people of all ages to take part in a programme of free events. From ideas to entertain the children to a girls’ action-packed getaway, the wealth of watersport venues and activities on offer throughout the UK will provide families and friends with an alternative way to fill their summer holidays.

“Ahead of the summer break, National Watersports Month in May is a great way for people to dip their toes in the water and give it a go,” said Olympic sailing silver medallist, Stuart Bithell. “With a range of open days, taster sessions and have a go lessons on offer from St Austell in Cornwall to Argyll & Bute in Scotland, the month-long campaign will be giving people across the country the chance to try something new, or simply breathe life back into an old hobby.”

“National Watersports Month is a great opportunity for the industry to showcase the wide spectrum of activities on offer throughout the UK, suitable for the whole family to try out,” said Howard Pridding, CEO of the British Marine Federation. “Finding ways of keeping the children entertained during the long summer holidays can be tricky, by introducing families to new water activities now we hope it will encourage more people to take to the British waterways and seas during the school break.”

“From canoeing to sailing, rowing to stand up paddle-boarding, there is a huge range of opportunities across the country during National Watersports Month,” added Helen Grant, Minister for Sport and Tourism. It is an ideal time to go out and try a new sport, experience some of our lovely water ways and support the British businesses who are the backbone of our marine leisure industry.”

To see a full list of events, visit, or follow @WatersportsMont on Twitter.

To find out how you can try out rowing during National Watersports Month, visit