Created: 21 Nov 2010 10:22
Updated: 21 Nov 2010 20:10

Boat owners are urged to complete their census questionnaires in March and help shape the findings of an event which takes place every ten years and in its present form in the UK since 1801. Whether you live on a boat, are lucky enough to have a second  water-based home or simply enjoy getting out on the water when you can, boating and yachting is a great way to leave behind everyday life, to venture out to enjoy new experiences. During March 2011, however, even if you are away on your boat, you will be required to take part in a decennial event, a national treasure, which has occurred throughout the world for many millennia, and in its present form in the UK since 1801.  

The 2011 Census is approaching. With a 200 year record of tracking the   patterns of our ever changing society the census is something of a national treasure. Shows such as 'Who do you think you are?' have fuelled the explosion of members of the public searching through census records to find the heroes and the villains of the family, helping to raise the  census's profile.

Census statistics, in the present day, however, are used for a more  serious reason, such as identifying the need for facilities and services in local areas - including emergency services, schools and hospitals. As a result everyone in England and Wales is legally obliged to take part.

Every household in England and Wales will be sent a 2011 Census   questionnaire. You will receive a big white envelope with a purple C on  the front, in March 2011. If you live on your boat it will be sent to the address you are moored at; if you do not receive a census questionnaire by census day (27 March 2011) you should get in touch with the census helpline 0300 0201 1010 (England) or 0300 0201 130 (Wales) to request your copy.

If you are away on holiday on your boat for census day, try to complete the questionnaire before you go if you can. For the first time in census history you can now complete your questionnaire online at www.census.gov.uk, using the individual secure internet access code on the front of your paper questionnaire.  If you are away on holiday during the census, please ensure you fill your questionnaire in on your return.

Deputy Census director, Pete Benton said: "Census statistics are used by a range of people for a range of reasons, from local councils to charities and academia. It is important to make sure those who live on boats, are counted in the 2011 Census. Being counted means that your needs can be identified, as well as your friends, family and your community's."

For over 200 years, census statistics have been used to underpin national and local decision making. The census, which is run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), obtains a comprehensive and consistent snapshot of the population. Census questionnaires are confidential and only group statistics are released into the public domain.

The Census takes place on 27 March 2011, so watch-out for your questionnaire coming through the door. Alternatively, for the first time in census history, you can now complete your questionnaire online at www.census.gov.uk.