Publication - Progress report

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report

Published: 19 Aug 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

This report provides Marine Scotland with evidence on economic and social effects to inform a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for each possible NC MPA, and a Sustainability Appraisal for the suite of proposals as a whole.

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report
C.13. Recreational Boating

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

C.13. Recreational Boating

C.13.1 Introduction

This appendix provides an overview of existing and potential future activity for the recreational boating sector in Scotland and outlines the methods used to assess the impacts of proposed MPA on this sector.

C.13.2 Sector Definition

For the purpose of this study, recreational boating is considered to include recreational activities undertaken in medium and large sailing vessels, yachts, powerboats and motorboats. Information on small sailing boat activity such as dinghies (usually taken out of water at end of use) and other types of water sports are covered under water sports. It is possible that general tourism values may overlap with values specifically associated with recreational activities. General tourism is described separately. There is some possibility of a degree of double counting using this approach but not to the extent that it materially affects the results of the study.

C.13.3 Overview of Existing Activity

A list of sources to inform the writing of this baseline is provided in Table C13.1.

Table C13.1 Information Sources

Scale Information Available Date Source
Scotland Statistics on sailing tourism No date Tourism Resources Company et al (2010)
All Regions Number of resident home berths
Number of visiting berths
Proportion of total Scotland berths
Demand for home berths (occupancy)
Visiting craft demand for berths
Average annual spend per boat (high, medium and low)
Direct expenditure
Multipliers (from Scottish Tourism Multiplier Study)
Visiting boat nights
Visiting boat expenditure
Gross Value Added
No date Tourism Resources Company et al (2010)
Scotland Sailing area value and berth numbers No date Baxter et al (2011)
Scotland RYA cruising routes and sailing areas No date Baxter et al (2011)
UK RYA Racing Areas (polygon) 2008 RYA
UK RYA Sailing Areas (polygon) 2008 RYA
UK RYA coastal recreational sailing routes (polyline) 2008 RYA
UK RYA Sailing Clubs (point) 2008 RYA
UK Locations of existing and proposed marinas and numbers of berths (point) 2008 RYA
UK Boat Launch - Slipways Boat Launch (
UK Boat Launch - Marinas (NB does not include yacht clubs with moorings) Boat Launch (
UK UK leisure, super yacht and small commercial marine industry economic statistics based on key performance indicators 2011/2012 BMF (2011b)

C.13.3.1 Location and intensity of activity

The UK Atlas of Recreational Boating (RYA, 2008) and data from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) indicates that recreational boating within Scotland is concentrated in the Clyde and along the West Coast, the Moray Firth, Solway Firth and the Firths of Tay and Forth which are the traditional cruising grounds for recreational sailors and power boaters. However, recent developments along the East Coast, and within the Orkney and Shetland Isles have increased the potential for cruising routes between the Caledonian Canal and the Shetlands with well placed facilities and stopping points en route. The RYA's Position Statement on offshore energy developments (RYA, 2009), which encompasses the whole of the UK, notes that most of the general day sailing and racing areas are close to the shore. The location of sailing and racing areas, recreational anchorages and indicative sailing routes are presented in Figure C16.

Indicative estimates of the number of people participating in sailing and power/motor boating activities in Scotland can be taken from the British Marine Federation (BMF) Water sports and Leisure Participation Survey 2009 (BMF et al., 2009). This report estimated that in 2009, 57,047 people participated in sailboat activities and/or yacht cruising, 12,486 participated in sailboat and/or yacht racing and that 49,015 engaged in motor boating/ cruising or canal boating in the Border and Scotland ITV regions [51] .

C.13.3.2 Economic value and employment

The Scottish Coast, and particularly the West coast, is identified as being one of the World's premier destinations for sailing. Recreational boating and marine and sailing tourism contribute about £300 million to the Scottish economy [52] . Overall, the sector is expected to grow in the long term (UKMMAS, 2010).

An assessment of the current economic impact of sailing in Scotland was undertaken by Scottish Enterprise (2010) and a summary is shown below in Table C13.2. The study indicated that there is a total berthing/mooring capacity available across Scotland for 12,500 vessels. The study stated that the value of the market could increase from its current value of £101 million to £145 million after 10 years.

Table C13.2 Economic impact of sailing in Scotland

Activity Total Activity (by Scottish and
Non-Scottish Boat Owners)
Tourist Activity
(by Non-Scottish Boat Owners Only)
Expenditure £101.3million £27.0 million
Employment (FTEs) 2,732 724
GVA £53.0million £14.0million

(Source: Scottish Enterprise, 2010)

In Scotland, the BMF estimates that in 2009/10 the total turnover of the leisure, super yacht and small commercial marine industry was £92.7million (BMF, 2010). Of this, the 'value added contribution' which is the principal measure of national economic benefit was £29.2million. This study focuses more on business values (such as boat building, specialised equipment manufacture, sales, training, consumer services, insurance services and finance) than the Scottish Enterprise (2010) study which is focused much more on expenditure related values of boat owners and visiting tourists. The industry in Scotland supported around 1,579 FTE jobs. It should be noted that a proportion of this revenue comes from inland activities. UKMMAS (2010) estimated that 62% of the total value in 2006/07 related to the marine environment. Using the same proportion, the indicative total value related to the marine environment in 2009/10 was £57.5million. No national employment figures derived from the Business Register and Employment Survey (using UK SIC codes) have been included for activities relating to recreational boating. This is because the codes are for the entire sports sector and do not permit disaggregation to a useful level.

C.13.3.3 Future trends

UKMMAS (2010) reports that whilst marine recreation has experienced recent growth, future growth and stability of the sector is dependant upon the general health of the UK economy. A strong economy results in consumers having more disposable income to spend on leisure and recreation activities. As a result of the recent global economic downturn, there has been some short-term decline in participation in recreational activities within the UK. However, with infrastructure and technology in place to support the sector, it is expected to continue to grow over the long term and the prospects for growth in Scotland are good.

Scotland's Marine Atlas (Baxter et al., 2011) comments that despite the recent downturn in the global economy, and subsequent reduction in disposable incomes, the recreational sector could have the potential to play an increasingly significant role in Scotland's rural economy. This is evidenced by the recent development of marina facilities at Wick, and the Orkney Islands. Combined with active marketing by marina owners, and support from local authorities (such as Orkney Island's Council as seen in recent developments) the potential for future growth is apparent.

Climate change may also play a small part in increasing overall participation numbers. As the frequency of months when conditions are more comfortable for tourism in North-West Europe (MCCIP, 2008) improve, the warmer weather is more likely to attract visitors to coastal locations in Scotland. The net result will be an extension of the tourist season beyond its traditional limits and opening up new destinations. Climate change as a positive influencing factor must be balanced against predictions of increased storminess, and the severity of storms. Provided increased storminess is predominantly in the winter months, this may not be a factor in future recreational boating trends.

The Scottish Enterprise (2010) report concludes that as long as infrastructure (marinas and shore side facilities) continue to attract investment, resident berthing could increase by 3-5% per annum. The growth potential in visitor berthing is projected at up to 5% per annum. Both of these projects bring an associated increase in expenditure into the local economy.

Planned and possible future offshore renewables development over the assessment period could interact with recreational boating activity. Such development may constrain recreational boating within the vicinity of arrays and increase sailing distances on some cruising and sailing routes. Concentration of developments along the East and West coasts of Scotland may increase the challenges of sailing along these routes with the potential to deter sailors.

C.13.4 Assumptions on Future Activity

It is assumed that recreational sailing routes, recreational anchorages and sailing and racing areas do not change significantly over the period of the assessment. There is some potential for levels of activity to increase in Scottish waters, dependent on continued investment in facilities and wider economic conditions.

C.13.5 Potential Interactions with MPA Features

The primary interactions of recreational boating with MPA features relate to the construction and use of boating infrastructure. The construction of boating infrastructure such as marinas and slipways may result in a complete loss of local habitat and the potential pollution of the habitats and species within the surrounding area. The installation and use of moorings may cause further physical damage to the seabed, notably to those MPA features particularly vulnerable to disturbance. Similar effects are associated with the regular anchoring of boats, although most marine habitats are resilient to this kind of disturbance. Leachates entering the environment from infrastructure may further pollute surrounding habitats and species, and increased shading as a result of infrastructure development may cause a loss of algal species and the associated infauna. Underwater noise may also be associated with construction activities ( JNCC & NE, 2011).

The potential impacts of the use of recreational boats are generally low. Of most concern is the pollution of sensitive MPA features with fuel, oil and lubricants. The introduction of invasive species into new habitats is also of concern. Other interactions of boating with MPA features include pollution with litter, sewage, zinc anodes and physical impacts associated with boat launching, haulout and disposal ( JNCC & NE, 2011).

C.13.6 Assumptions on Management Measures for Scenarios

It is assumed that the impact of recreational boating activities on MPA features will be managed through Marine Conservation Orders or voluntary measures. Two scenarios ('lower' and 'upper') have been developed to capture the possible costs of potential MPAs to the recreational boating sector. These include a range of possible management measures, as detailed requirements will need to be based on site-specific factors.

The lower and intermediate ('best') estimates for each site have been based on an assessment carried out by SNH of the overlaps between recreational anchorages and The Crown Estate's moorings and feature presence records held by SNH, including 100m and 200m buffer zones. This assessment incorporated feature sensitivity and where uncertainty on feature presence data exists, SNH expert judgement was used to determine management measures required. The upper estimates have been based on assessments made by the study team using the overlap between anchorages and The Crown Estate's moorings and upper feature extents as defined in Appendix B, as well as feature sensitivity to anchoring pressures. The assessment focused only on individual moorings (taken as TCE mooring data <0.001 km 2), and when mooring data showed overlaps with more than one feature record, the feature most sensitive to anchoring pressures was used in the assessment as a precautionary measure. It is noted that those Crown Estate mooring areas with few or no individual moorings present may be potential underestimates, as it is expected that additional mooring points are likely to be present within the larger mooring areas that are not represented by the data.

The assumptions do not pre-judge any future site-specific decisions on management. After MPA designation, the management of activities in MPAs will be decided on a site-by-site basis and may differ from the assumptions in this assessment.

Management measures applied under the lower and upper scenarios are detailed below. Specific management measure assumptions for each scenario (including the intermediate scenario) are defined in the MPA Site Reports (Table 4, Appendix E).

Lower Scenario

  • Mitigation measures may be required for all MPA features (depending on sensitivity) ranging from:
    ˉ No additional mitigation measures required beyond existing good practice; and
    ˉ Relocation of recreational anchorages to less sensitive areas or more representative areas of habitat.

Upper Scenario

  • Mitigation measures may be required for all MPA features (depending on sensitivity) ranging from:
    ˉ No additional mitigation measures required beyond existing good practice; and
    ˉ Relocation of recreational anchorages to less sensitive areas or more representative areas of habitat.

C.13.7 Assessment Methods

Mitigation Measures

Where required, it is assumed that the following additional costs may be incurred:

  • Voluntary restriction/relocation/closure of anchorages - site specific assessment.

C.13.8 Limitations

  • The future level and location of marina development applications is uncertain; and
  • The management measure requirements for new development are uncertain.

C.13.9 References

Baxter, J.M., Boyd, I.L., Cox, M., Donald, A.E., Malcolm, S.J., Miles, H., Miller, B., Moffat, C.F., (Editors), 2011. Scotland's Marine Atlas: Information for the national marine plan. Marine Scotland, Edinburgh.

BMF, MCA, RYA and Lifeboats 2009. Water sports and Leisure Participation Survey 2009. Available online:

BMF, 2010. UK Leisure and Small Commercial Marine Industry Key Performance Indicators 2009/10. Available online:

JNCC and NE, 2011. General advice on assessing potential impacts of and mitigation for human activities on MCZ features, using existing regulation and legislation. Advice from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England to the Regional MCZ Projects. June 2011. 107pp.

MCCIP, 2008. Marine climate change impacts. Annual Report Card 2007-2008

RYA, 2009. The RYA's Position on Offshore Energy Developments, December 2009.

RYA, 2008. UK Coastal Atlas of Recreational Boating. Second Edition.

Scottish Enterprise, 2010. 'Sailing Tourism In Scotland' February 2010

United Kingdom Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS), 2010. Charting Progress 2 Feeder Report Productive Seas. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs on behalf of UKMMAS (Eds. Saunders, J. and McKie, J.) 472pp Available online: