The collected data initially concern population and coastline. In addition, information about protected marine areas, ports, marinas and moorings are presented as well as data about recreational boat fleets.
A three-step process has been used for the research. At first a data collection from European sources has been conducted. Secondly, data have been collected from published materials by boating associations. Finally, information has been gathered from national sources.
It is possible to distinguish three groups of countries on the basis of population as well as a sub-group of small countries with short length of coastline. The biggest countries in terms of population have the highest number of infrastructures, while the most populous countries record the greatest fleets.
In the course of the research there were difficulties due to lack of availability and uniformity of data among countries. For instance, lack of uniformity in the classification and mooring size leads to problems in comparing information from different national sources.