THE launch of National Watersports Month in Poole saw silver Olympian Stuart Bithell promoting the event at Poole Park.

Along with Dorset sailor Sophie Wegueline, who won a silver medal at the Youth Worlds, they were finding out how Rockley Watersports encourages youngsters to get out on the water.

The annual event stages more than 400 events in May including canoeing, sailing, rowing, windsurfing and powerboating, aiming at getting families taking part in watersports.

Following the warmest summer for six years, there has been a significant rise in the number of people dipping their toes into water-based activities, with an increase of 23 per cent, 700,000 adults, in 2013 compared to 2012.

And with the Olympic legacy from Team GB, even more people are expected to take to the water in 2014.

Stuart said: “Ahead of the summer break, National Watersports Month in May is a great way for people to dip their toes in the water and give it a go, with a range of open days, taster sessions and have a go lessons on offer.

“The month long campaign will be giving people across the country the chance to try something new, or simply breathe life back into an old hobby.”

The event is spearheaded by the country’s leading watersports and boating organisations, Go Canoeing, British Rowing, Royal Yachting Association, British Marine Federation and British Water Ski and Wakeboard.

Helen Grant, Minister for Sport and Tourism said: “From canoeing to sailing, rowing to stand up paddle-boarding, there is a huge range of opportunities across the country during National Watersports Month.

“It is an ideal time to go out and try a new sport, experience some of our lovely water ways and support the British businesses who are the backbone of our marine leisure industry.”