The findings will be used to help the RNLI and BCU develop tailored and relevant safety messages for the kayaking and canoeing communities.
An online survey will be launched today (Wednesday 19 June) and will run for five weeks, during which time anyone who participates in either canoeing or kayaking – no matter how often or what level of experience – is invited to visit http://www.mruk.co.uk/canoekayaksurvey and complete the short survey.
The survey will be supplemented by focus groups held in selected locations, known to be hotspots for kayaking and canoeing. The project will be undertaken by MRUK research, on behalf of the RNLI.
Will Stephens, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager, explains the reasoning behind the research project:
‘The RNLI exists to save lives at sea – a large part of that role is trying to prevent incidents from happening in the first place by providing important safety information. RNLI incident data shows our lifeboat crews have rescued almost 800 paddlers in the last five years, which could well be due to the growing popularity of these activities.
‘Both kayaking and canoeing are very accessible and great fun – we’re always pleased to see people enjoying their leisure time at the coast and we want to help ensure they can take part in their chosen watersports safely.
‘The aim of this research is to help us understand why people get involved and how they behave when they are on the water so we can provide the most relevant and useful safety information to them. We’re working with the BCU to join our expertise in coastal safety with their experience of the sport. Once we have the results of the research, the RNLI and BCU will work together to develop the most suitable safety programmes and advice.’
Mike Devlin, UK Director of Coaching at the BCU, adds:
‘The BCU is looking forward to working with the RNLI on this project. Working together in this way will enable us to engage with a wider audience of paddlers to ensure we can target, and make available, safety information and training so that all may take advantage of a great sport and leisure activity.’
Those wishing to participate in the survey can visit http://www.mruk.co.uk/canoekayaksurvey from Wednesday 19 June to complete the short questionnaire. All who participate in the survey are offered the option of free entry into a prize draw to win a paddle, donated by Sea Kayaking UK. A winner will be chosen at random by MRUK by 9 August.
Notes to editors
• RNLI spokespeople are available for interview. Please contact RNLI Public Relations on the numbers below.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Laura Fennimore, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 663181 / Laura_Fennimore@rnli.org.uk.