Research on sailing participation

Recent research on the future of sailing in Australia obviously applies to Canada. There are lessons here for SSCA and our Clubs.

Yachting Australia has released the findings of a research report into the perceptions of sailing in Australia.

– Australians generally have a low rate of both participation in, and passion for, sailing (we rank 34th and 37th respectively amongst all sports)
– Sailing is perceived as an ‘exclusive’ sport while not being seen as very ‘accessible’. Yacht Clubs are generally not welcoming, and are for older people only
– On average, the starting age of sailing is much higher than other sports with established junior programs
– Primary and Secondary school age children, and young families have the highest interest in participating in sailing in the future
– Relaxation is consistently the most important reason for participation in sailing among both current sailors and those interested in sailing. New participants are interested in a social, relaxed activity rather than competition, the later tending to be more important to current club members.
– The main barrier for future participation is the perceived cost of sailing. Boat ownership, maintenance, storage costs, and annual membership payment, are expensive, especially for a family.

The key considerations for clubs arising from the research and report are:
– Improve the image of Clubs – make them more welcoming and inclusive
– Help reduce the entry costs – providing club boats and promote crewing opportunities
– Help reduce the initial commitment – for example introductory, flexible, and concessional membership
– Increase the emphasis on relaxed social racing – rather than just competition. Engage new participants in club social and networking activities.
– Reduce the time commitment – Consumers want shorter forms of sailing activities
– Improve the information and communication – Consumers often don’t know where to go & whom to ask for information in a yacht club. Make sure the entry and retention pathways are clear

Posted under Coaches' Corner

This post was written by The Webmaster on March 15, 2012


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