Client Story


RNLI – Audience Profiling Research

Yacht Sailing


The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) commissioned Substance to undertake audience profile research. As part of a series of research studies  profiling audience segments and their attitudes to risk, the study sought to examine the attitudes and behaviours of yacht sailors,

The Challenge

The RNLI and the MCA wanted to understand more about yacht sailors’ attitudes to risk and safety, their patterns of participation and their behaviours.  The specific objectives for this project were to:

  •  Group the population of UK yacht sailors into segments according to their motivations for participation and their attitude to safety and risk;
  • Detail the attitudes and motivations of each segment and provide evidence on the age, gender and socio-demographic status of the members of each group;
  • Identify the groups of sailors on which the three partners could focus their safety messages;
  • Identify effective methods of communicating with the high-risk segments;
  • and Produce a highly accessible report for the RNLI, the MCA and the RYA that clearly outlines the research findings and gives a detailed profile of each of the segments.

How we helped

We adopted both qualitative and quantitative methods when approaching the research questions. The mixed method approach involving:

  • Desk-based research;
  • Qualitative interview and consultation with key stakeholders;
  • A large quantitative survey with both online and face-to-face surveys conducted;
  • Qualitative research involving in-depth telephone interviews and focus groups;
  • And a final report and presentation of key findings.

The research was aimed at yacht sailors based in the UK. The project focused on participants’ experiences of sailing onboard yachts, including both cruising and racing. The project methodology took care to incorporate and allow for the different types of sailing in which respondents participate and the differing roles they can undertake.

For further information and to download a copy of the report, please click on this link: Publication Download