Deals done show commercial boat sector is thriving

Peter Axworthy at the OffBeet cafe

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RECESSION-BUSTING deals were done at this year’s Seawork International commercial boat show, which has been hailed as a success.

Organised by Fareham-based Mercator Media, the show was this year celebrating its 15th anniversary with hundreds of boats on the pontoons at Southampton Port and thousands of visitors through its doors.

One of the deals done at the show was by Hampshire Police Authority, which bought a new police RIB from Ribcraft, based in Yeovil, Somerset.

The keys were handed over to Cllr Jacqui Rayment, chairwoman of the authority.

The Hampshire Constabulary Marine Unit’s vessel will be used for patrol, boarding, counter-terrrorism, and fishery protection work in the Solent.

Anthony Birr, Police Sergeant in the HCMU, said the authority will be taking possession of four new craft this year, all built by Seawork exhibitors.

He said: ‘The first RIB was part of a four-boat plan worth over £1m which wouldn’t have happened without Seawork.’

Around 6,500 people visited the exhibition, held over three days in May.

As well as representation from every corner of the UK, visitors also came from countries including Angola, Australia, Bahrain, China, Japan, the Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Singapore and the USA.

Andrew Webster, managing director of Mercator Media, said: ‘The emergence world-wide of the offshore renewable energy industry has contributed to the growth of the commercial marine industry but Seawork continues to reflect the industry in its entirety.

‘The diversity of exhibitors at Seawork and the positive feedback we’ve received strongly indicates that the sector remains active and healthy.’