Paddling numbers - where are they

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buck197
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Paddling numbers - where are they

Post by buck197 » Tue Nov 21, 2006 6:52 pm

In this months Paddles magazine, it quoted 1.5 million UK participating paddlers in UK which I think came from the BCU. That is approx 2.5% of the whole population (60million).

This equates to 6250 paddlers in my home town of Plymouth (pop 250K). Our club and the only club in the city has less than 200 members plus the Uni has a club with no more than 50. Where are all these participating paddlers, I know of no one else in my family/friends/work colleagues who is a paddler???

The BCU has 50K members and that means for every BCU member there are 30 paddlers who are not members. I realise the schools/scouts/cadets have some but this can't surely make up 1.5 million.

I presume this figure is to strengthen our case and I wonder whether with 1.5 million people we are "frightening" the landowners/fishing fraternity. I guess there to be less than 20K WW paddlers in the UK in total given the number of BCU members is 50K. Another useless fact is with 1.5 million paddlers and 40,000 miles of rivers equates to 37 paddlers per mile of river. London would have 250k participants out of a pop of 10 million.

Fact or fiction, discuss?
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Post by naefearjustbeer » Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:00 pm

Not everyone is in a club or paddles on rivers. Our club has approx 70 members of which about 5 or 6 of us regularly paddle in fresh water. About half of the members are juniors that so far have only done pool sessions and calm sea paddles.

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Ricks-Freestyle-Mind
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Post by Ricks-Freestyle-Mind » Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:05 pm

Theres a large number of clubs around North Manchester area.

Manchester CC
Manchester Uni CC
Bolton CC
Westhouton CC
Bury CC
Irwell Shufflers


These are all close togeteher, and all active.

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Post by RobMoffatt » Tue Nov 21, 2006 8:05 pm

Does that figure include people who own a sit on top, which they take on the family holiday to Cornwall each year, and have a sedate paddle around a few bays? There are other categories of paddler, such as the people who have a boat and occasionally take it on the canal.

If the number includes these then it may be closer to reality, than we think. Since many of these people are not a member of the BCU, and have no reason to become a member.

However, you can only trust statistics so far, since it is possible to find/come up with a statistic to back up almost anything. So take the number with a pinch of salt.

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MadHatter
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Re: Paddling numbers - where are they

Post by MadHatter » Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:12 pm

buck197 wrote: Our club and the only club in the city has less than 200 members plus the Uni has a club with no more than 50.
Cough, cough, splutter!

Um the uni paddling club have over 140 thank you very much! We had 130 last year and 80 the year before that!

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buck197
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Post by buck197 » Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:29 am

Sorry Mad Hatter most humble apologies but that still makes only 350 club members for Plymouth that still leaves just less than 6K unaccounted for, an awful lot of sit on tops and once a year paddlers.
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Post by allatsea » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:37 am

These figures are similar to those used by anglers whose definition of a fisherman was based upon a mori survey of the general public which asked folk if there was a fishing rod in their house. Now my mum who has never fished, if asked such a question would have to say yes, as theres one I had as a kid (thirty years ago) that still clutters up the garage, under this survey she counts as an angler. This also accounts for the discrepancy between numbers of "anglers" and number of licences.

I manage a centre that over 5000 people will paddle at each year - is that 5000 paddlers, or do I just count the regular paddlers that are down every week?

As the saying goes "lies, damned lies and statistics"

Pat

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Post by Si C » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:47 am

Madhatter wrote:
Um the uni paddling club have over 140 thank you very much! We had 130 last year and 80 the year before that!
That's good going, when I was at Plymouth we had 60 or 70 join each year.
The thing is though, out of all those that hand over there money in freshers week, how many are active members?
Out of the numbers we had join, generally it would drop to about 20 active members though the year.

Si.

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Post by dwill » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:52 am

Whats the definition of "participating paddlers"? as Pat comments if you include people who participate in one-off taster sessions at centres, The Scout association, kids on PGL/activity holidays/Centre Parcs etc you will soon boost the figures.

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Post by Jim » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:53 am

buck197 wrote:Sorry Mad Hatter most humble apologies but that still makes only 350 club members for Plymouth that still leaves just less than 6K unaccounted for, an awful lot of sit on tops and once a year paddlers.
It will include an estimate based on sales that includes all the people with sit on tops, open boats, touring kayaks etc. that maybe use them once or twice a year, or possibly only ever used them once.

It may assume that paddlers only own 1 boat and be based entirely on sales.

It is likely to include data from centres about how many people they have "processed" (dehumanising way of saying given a wonderful introductory session) each year, many of whom probably never paddle again, but some will, and some will already be paddlers that are doing it as part of a multi-activity holiday or teambuilding course or whatever. I was a nightmare on a 6th form trip, first I argued about whether I should have a spraydeck (the fact that I had my own boat and spraydeck made me adamant that I needed one), and then picked the instructor up for calling a stern rudder a bow rudder - after charging around doing bow rudders to make my point! Kids eh?

Then of course there are the regional variations, maybe not many people in Plymouth paddle (but I bet if you look in all the sheds you'll find a motley assortment of rarely used boats of varying vintage) but as Rik says it is big in the north so maybe balances out? I don't know about kayaking, but compared to living in Wiltshire, or even Newcastle, just about everyone I meet in Scotland does hillwalking or mountaineering, perhaps not not regularly... paddling demographics may reveal similar trends.

It would be interesting for the statisticians to tell us how they come up with these figures!

Jim

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Post by Adrian Cooper » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:55 am

buck197 wrote: an awful lot of sit on tops and once a year paddlers.
This is where your question is answered. The statistic given by the BCU is for those people who have paddled or tried paddling in any one year. there will be absolutely loads who have given it a go just the once on a quiet lake or calm stretch of river during the summer holidays.

The method used for assessing these numbers is similar to the method used by other sports and pastimes to count their participation rates. This may well explain the enormous difference between supposed participation in angling and the number of rod licences sold.

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Post by Jules » Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:21 pm

The basis for the figures banded around by the BCU come from the "Watersports and Leisure Participation Survey". This has been undertaken for the past four(?) years under the sponsorship of the RYA. The 2005 survey can be viewed here.

However, it should be noted that this survey only looks at Adult (16+) participation and so discounts all of those school and youth groups who put their members in a boat at least once during the course of a year. As the figures in the survey do not match up with those publicized by the BCU, I am guessing that the BCU have adjusted their figures to account for this.

Its quite an interesting read if you are interested in this sort of thing.


Jules

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numbers....

Post by chriscw » Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:07 pm

When I was running taster sessions for various youth groups a few years ago we would run at least 3 sessions a week for about 4 months each session average attendance was about 20. That is aver 900 different people each year and we were not unique by a long chalk.

Rather fewer of course went on to do 1 and 2 star with us or other people and even fewer to join clubs etc.

I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of young people and their youth leaders who actually said they did not enjoy the session and probably would not paddle again. I do not know how many groups centres etc there are doing similar work but there must be hundreds. It is really worth while and a huge privilege to make this kind of activity safely accessible to others.

Yes there is a BUT and it is that I really want to be in a situation where those who enjoy taster sessions have better opportunity to take things further. That's why I joined a club with a varied program and good links with other clubs to make a better opportunity available to fewer people.

We do of course need both approaches!
Chris Clarke-Williams
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Paddling Interests:
Touring, Coaching Beginners (I am an L2K), Surf White water trips, Weir Play (I'm not good enough to put freestyle!)

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Post by muppet » Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:12 pm

As Jules correctly states these figure come from the report commissioned by the RYA, the definition they use for a participant is 'someone who done the sport more than once' or possibly 'more than 6 times' in a year, confusion exists.
In my experience (significant - even though I do say so myself) these numbers are pretty much on the money, so are the ones for sub aqua. The major conclusion that can be drawn from this is that there are an awful lot of paddlers out there who have no interest in WhiteWater/BCU/Coaching/Access and who just do it for fun very infrequently.
Good on them too!
Muppet
PS it also means that the BCU represents less than 3.3% of paddlers - enough said.

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Post by markyparky » Wed Nov 22, 2006 6:31 pm

Some Plymouth paddlers are members of the TCA over in Saltash me being one of them they must have about 100 plus on their books.
it's better to forget and be happy than to remember and be sad.

walkerdavid

Post by walkerdavid » Wed Nov 22, 2006 8:37 pm

The 1.5 million participants quoted do not include those less than 16 years old - as the methods used to gather the survey preclude those under 16's from participating. So in addition to that figure you can add the number of single taster sessions occurring in centres / schools around the UK and abroad.

It probably worth noting that the total base was c. 13000 (of the top of my head), Of this the actual base number of canoeist responding was around the 200 mark. This was a mid figure in terms of the actual respondents (I.e. not so small to cause a siginifant problem as a sample, but the bigger the sample the better).

The omnibus survey was commissioned by a number of organisations - all for varying reasons. The coastguard also uses these figures to contextualise incident data, and prevention activity.

dave

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buck197
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Post by buck197 » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:18 pm

Yes I know about our lovely Saltash brethern but I used Plymouth's pop of 250K which according to my source does not include Saltash. Anyways many thanks folks for providing all that feedback, I stand corrected as to the numbers.
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Re: Paddling numbers - where are they

Post by Simon Westgarth » Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:50 pm

buck197 wrote:In this months Paddles magazine, it quoted 1.5 million UK participating paddlers in UK which I think came from the BCU. That is approx 2.5% of the whole population (60million).
This figure is quoted from a BMIF survey that includes all centre participation rates, and thus is not the true reflection of paddlers. Worst still is that if a person at a centre paddles twice in a day, they are certainly counted as 2 people paddling!! Stats of so easily shaped figures.........

The BCU do not know either about any of this, and that is one of their considerable shortfalls, more so is that they have no idea what type of paddling their members do!!! This approach is partly political, as the powerful sub committees would be at a lose to maintain influence if their own discipline is seen to have such a low up take.. That is why there is no representation of WW paddlers or sea kayakers!!!

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