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Researching kayakers’ attitudes to improve safety at sea

This week marks the launch of a national survey mruk is conducting on behalf of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in conjunction with the British Canoe Union (BCU) on the behaviours of participants in ocean kayaking and canoeing.

Ocean kayaking and canoeing are major sports in the United Kingdom with up to one and half million participants every year.  While the overwhelming majority have a great day out, the incidents that happen remind us that there is always an element of risk with any outdoors activity no matter how well equipped and experienced the participants.

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.

It’s rare in a service industry like market research that we get to do work we can truthfully say might save lives.  This is one of those occasions and the commitment of those in the RNLI and in the sport has been very evident over the past few weeks as the mruk team has worked with stakeholders to develop the questionnaire materials.  The questionnaire itself has been a challenge, since it needs to be relevant to everyone, from the once a year kayaker to five star BCU leaders. All the people we have spoken to have given freely of their time to help us with this challenge and we hope the resultant survey does justice to their contributions.

So if you’ve been kayaking or canoeing off the British coast in the last 12 months please help us by completing the survey at

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