Waters sports industry and services

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The French boating industry is a sector in which France still enjoys leading global positions: in sailboats and boardriding sports. It is also the world’s fourth largest producer of motorboats. It continues to make a positive contribution to the country's balance of trade, with export levels up again in 2013/2014 to a record high of 72.4% (against 71.6% in the previous year). 

In 2013, the French boating industry comprised some 5,109 companies, representing 39,699 jobs and € 4.26 billion in turnover. Trade, maintenance, boatbuilding and importing alone generated over half of the industry’s total turnover and accounted for more than 50% of the industry’s workforce. 

More than ever the emphasis is on export, which accounts for 72.4% of its turnover. The French nautical industry continued to hold out in 2013/2014 as in the previous year, both in terms of turnover and workforce, despite the difficult current environment. 

After a decline of almost 5% in 2012/2013, the turnover stabilized in 2013/2014 (–0.1%) sitting at € 739.4 million compared to € 740.3 million the preceding year. 

  • Af ter a drop of 5.8% last year, sailboat production, spearheading the French industry, reports a turnover of € 441.5 million (76.5% of which is exports). The habitable monohull and multihull segment, of which France is the world leader, contributed to these performances. 
  • Motorboat production represented a turnover of € 286.1 million. The nautical year was highlighted by a stronger French presence internationally with export sales representing 67.8% of turnover. 

In 2013/2014, the turnover in exports increased to € 535.6 million. 

  • Non-EU export (to the American continent, Asia and Middle East) reached a turnover of € 306 million and now represents 41.4% of production. 
  • Europe grew by 3.2% to € 226.8 million after a fall of 12.0% in 2012/2013. Sales on the French market continued to decline: –3.0% to € 203.8 million. 

In 2013/2014, despite a more difficult context, the second hand market increased, recording 62,078 units. 80% of ownership transfers were for motorboats and 63% were for boats under 6 meters. The number of recreational sailing permits issued recorded a slight decrease (–2.30%), after three years of increase from 2009 to 2012 (+27%). 

In water sports, activities such as Stand Up Paddle, sea kayaking and kite surfing are seeing a sharp hike in interest and enthusiasts are now more than ever adapting their sport to the weather conditions they might encounter. 

Sea and river rentals are also attracting ever more impressive numbers. France, with its long and diverse coastlines, large network of navigable waterways and increasing range of rental options, is ideally suited to meet the expectations of demanding pleasure seekers. 

The French nautical industry and service economy 

  • 5,109 businesses, 
  • 30 categories of businesses, 
  • 39,699 jobs, 
  • total turnover of € 4.26 billion, 
  • 44,580 boats produced, 
    • representing a turnover of € 739.39 million, 
    • with 72.4% produced for export. 

Key figures for sailing 

  • 9 million occasional sailors, 
  • 4 million regular recreational sailors, 
  • 12,814 new registrations: 
    • 68% motorboats and 46.5% boats under 6 meters, 
  • 62,078 second-hand sales: 
    • 80% motorboats and 62% boats under 6 meters, 
  • more than 1,000 sailing schools, 
  • more than 200 motor school boats, 
  • 84,323 recreational sailing permits issued. 


  • more than 370 marinas, 
    • with 252,500 berths, 
  • 38 hard standing facilities 
    • with 11,248 berths. 

Institutional bodies

Conseil Supérieur de la Navigation de Plaisance et des Sports Nautiques 


The Supreme Council of Boating and Water Sports consists of 46 members representing the widest range of skills in the sector. 

Its aims cover design, coordination, consultation and impetus for the sector. 

Its actions in boating affect all areas of our societ y in terms of economy, development, environment, employment, security, tourism, education, recreation and sport. 

Its work contributes to the structuring and development of water activities, helps to develop the legislative and regulatory framework, promotes good practice and boosts the sector. It seeks to support change. 

Fédération Française de Voile 


The French Sailing Federation was established in 1946 to encourage, promote and develop the sport of sailing in all its forms, whether in competition or for leisure, educational or corporate purposes or tourism. It also provides guidance, training, organisation and control within the limit of its remit. 

The Federation has four main missions: 

  • responsibility for the regulatory and statutory framework of the discipline, 
  • development of a nationwide network of clubs and licence holders, 
  • organisation of sailing events, 
  • structuring of the French teams. 

Key figures of the French Sailing Federation: 

  • 289,524 licence holders 
  • 1,075 clubs including 605 with official approval 
  • 1,066,239 members 
  • 6,765 events scheduled. 



Fédération Française des Ports de Plaisance 


Established in 1979, the French Federation of Marinas is an association serving its member ports in continental France and Overseas: sea, river and lake ports and hard standing facilities. As the sole official spokes-organisation and recognised representative body, the FFPP promotes marinas as key contributors to regional development, pursues its missions of protecting the interests of its members, advises them in all technical, legal and social matters, and provides training courses to match their various professional needs. 

The FFPP is active in promoting the water sports sector through the work of the CODCAP (Yachting Accommodat ion Capaci t y Development Committee) which it co-founded with ANEL (National Association of Coastal Local Authorities) and chairs the Odyssea European Cooperation Grouping. It also participates in the work of the Marinas Committee of ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations) which represents the economic interests of marinas at an international level. 

Fédération Française Motonautique 


The French Motorboating Federation comprises: 

  • 892 annual permit-holders covering all disciplines (speedboat, jet ski, hovercraft, leisure), 
  • 65 affiliated clubs, 
  • 9 regional committees. 

It organises: 

  • inshore: 2 world championships – 4 rounds for the French championship, 
  • offshore: 4 rounds for the French championship, 
  • jet ski: 1 world championship in Guadeloupe, 1 speed and endurance championship in France, 1 regional championship in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Corsica, Grand Est, Normandy, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and Languedoc- Roussillon, 
  • hovercraft: 2 European championships. 

It also: 

  • adapts boats specially to enable people with reduced mobility to go sailing, 
  • organises sessions for obtaining the professional qualification certificate of assistant motorboating instructor. 

FIN- Fédération des Industries Nautiques 


FIN, the French Nautical Industries Federation, works to defend, represent and promote the interests of the different sectors of France’s boating industries both at home and abroad. FIN currently has about 600 members drawn from eight boating industry and service activities. 

As part of its commitment to strengthening its regional presence alongside professionals in the leisure marine industry, and providing them with close support and advice, FIN is rolling out a network of local partners. It is also developing regional dialogue with local communities and coastal institutions. By doing so, FIN aims to play a driving role in the growth of nautical activities, particularly by identifying solutions to the shortage of marina berths, and by working to promote sailing all along the country’s coastline. 

FIN is contributing to the development and practice of water-based leisure activities, by making them accessible to the widest possible public. It has initiated events such as the “National Get Afloat Day” (Fête du Nautisme) and owns “Nautic - the Paris International Boat Show and Yachting Festival of Cannes”. 

Aiming at enhancing the significant global presence of France’s leisure boating industry, FIN is intensifying its efforts in the international arena to promote exports and French expertise, open its trade shows up to a wider international audience and attract overseas clients to France. FIN is a founding member of EBI (European Boating Industry) and an active member of ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations). 

Yacht Club de France 


The search for excellence at sea 

The Yacht Club de France was founded at the end of the nineteenth century to contribute to the development of pleasure boating and boatbuilding. Based in Paris, it is a partner to every major organization tasked with designing and implementing pleasure boating policy in France. It also acts as an interface for its network of thirty allied Yacht clubs located on France’s seaboards. 

Its five hundred members share a common approach to the sea which combines tradition and modernity, initiative and innovation. They work together to promote this approach to all who practice recreational boating in the broadest sense, whether on board sailing ships, motorboats, traditional yachts or using the wonders of technology that now fly over water. 

The Yacht Club de France is also partner in a network of twenty allied Yacht Clubs in Europe, America and Asia. 

It is the sponsor of the French challenge by “Team France” for the 35th America's Cup. 

Pleasure boat building and services

Chantier Naval Couach


Couach: innovation and French ‘Yacht Couture’ for more than 100 years. 

Since 1897 on its site on the Arcachon Bay, the leading French shipyard Couach, has been designing made-to-measure yachts constructed by over 250 craftsmen. Besides yachts, the Couach shipyard designs military patrol and surveillance boats in composite materials. The globally recognized qualities of its military range and the reliability of its yachts rest on 4 generations of naval know-how. The company is now a mature brand. In the post-war years, Couach launched the industrially built boats whose exceptional marine qualities made the yard’s reputation. Gradually, the yard has developed different ranges of boats and its production is now focused on two types: 

  • patrol boats and coastguard vessels for French and foreign naval administrations, 
  • yachts, with models ranging from 23m - yachts to 50m super yachts. 

Chantier Naval Couach © Jérôme Kelagopian 

Corsica Yacht Services


Corsica Yacht Services is a maritime agency covering the entire Corsican Island from three offices in Calvi, Ajaccio and Bonifacio. 

As the representative of yacht owners as well as captains, its first mission as maritime agent consists of representing vessels in dealings with the authorities. 

With constantly evolving regulations becoming more and more strict, Corsica Yacht Services can assist its clients with Customs, Taxation, Official Port Control, Frontier Police, National Security, Sanitary Services and other formalities. 

Apart from administrative formalities, Corsica Yacht Services provide and organise a full range of tailor-made top-level logistic services indispensable to yachts as well as ocean liners. 

  • All services in port and at anchorage, 
  • berth reservation, 
  • coordination with Port Authorities, 
  • coordination with Maritime Pilot Stations, 
  • general assistance and representation, 
  • administrative and customs formalities, 
  • dispatch and reception of parcels and courier service documents, 
  • bank services, 
  • fuel delivery, 
  • provisioning, 
  • technical assistance and support, 
  • medical assistance, 
  • car Rental, 
  • transport, travel and excursion organisation, 
  • organisation of sporting and leisure activities, 
  • private on-board concert organisation, 
  • and much more … 

Corsica Yacht Services is a founding member of European Economic Interest Grouping AGents, a network of maritime agents established throughout France (St Mandrier, St Tropez, Cannes, Calvi, Ajaccio, Bonifacio), in Monaco, in Italy (Imperia, Genoa, Portofino, La Spezia, Venice), in Spain (Barcelona), in Croatia (Rijeka), in Greece (Athens), in Dubai, in Singapore and soon in Turkey. 

Fountaine Pajot 


Founded in 1976, the Fountaine Pajot shipyard, based across two large covered sites in Aigrefeuille and La Rochelle, released its first cruising catamaran in 1983 followed by its first power catamaran in 1998. 

Ever since, the shipyard has constantly innovated to satisfy the requirements of an international clientele, regularly updating both its ranges (Fountaine Pajot Catamarans and Fountaine Pajot Motor Yachts) and continuing its research and development in terms of innovation and production techniques. 

With over 2,500 boats sailing throughout the world, this leading global company for cruising catamarans now employs more than 400 people across both its sites. 



Iguana Yachts has designed a new mobility system enabling its boats to be launched without using other equipment. No need anymore for trailers or moorings, as the Iguana Mobility System can clear the last hundred meters between the sea and the closest dry mooring or can access a remote beach.