Sea kayakers called on to help with RNLI research

by Ian Tokelove
RNLI lifeboat crew respond to a sea kayaker in difficulty
RNLI lifeboat crew respond to a sea kayaker in difficulty

RNLI lifeboat crew respond to a sea kayaker in difficulty

A new research project by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the British Canoe Union (BCU) is exploring sea kayakers’ attitudes towards risk and safety, and the various ways in which they participate in their sport.

The research will cover people’s reasons for participating in kayaking and canoeing, how often they go, types of craft used, preferred locations, experience and training, awareness of potential hazards and use of safety measures.

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 has been launched and will run for five weeks. The RNLI wants to hear from anyone who participates in canoeing or kayaking on coastal waters – no matter how often or what level of experience.

To take part in the survey please visit and complete the short survey. If you take part in the survey you can also enter a free prize draw to win a paddle, donated by Sea Kayaking UK. The survey will be supplemented by focus groups held in selected locations, known to be hotspots for kayaking and canoeing.

Take the RNLI survey

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.”

Take part in the survey visit The prize draw winner will be chosen at random and announced by 9th August 2013.

Image credit: RNLI/Nigel Millard

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