MORE than 500 people took to the water as part of a festival to celebrate Gosport’s vibrant marine scene.
Hundreds more packed the shore for the fourth Gosport Marine Festival, which took place on Saturday.
The festival, which runs every two years, is designed to encourage people – especially children and young adults – onto the water to try out sports such as sailing, rowing and kayaking.
It makes the most of Gosport’s harbourside coastline and was judged a resounding success by all those who attended to try out the free activities, those who volunteered, the organisers, sponsors and exhibitors.
The festival was opened by deputy lieutenant of Hampshire, Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel John Jarvis and Peter Melson, chairman of Gosport Marine Scene.
Chairman of the festival Mitch Youngman said: 'Yet again Gosport has delivered a fantastic day out for families and friends.
‘There is something truly magical to see people come off the water, smiling, energised and full of life.
‘So what if they got a little wet? They had a great experience!.
‘It was really good to see people who’ve been in previous years come back again to try out new sports, and to see people helping out after being inspired at previous festivals.
‘It’s a terrific community event. Everyone gets to learn more about our lively sailing clubs and associations and all about the local marine business community.
‘The day was made possible by the contributions of the Gosport Sea Cadets, Stokes Bay and Lee-on-the-Solent Sailing clubs, the activity providers and our sponsors for which we are truly thankful in making it a true community event.’
The day started with the Gosport Sea Cadets parading down Gosport High Street with the Rose and Thistle Pipes and Drums band, and there were arts and crafts on offer in Trinity Church for younger children at Little Shipmates as well as all the watersports, boats to visit and model boat displays.
Gosport resident Stuart Armon spent the day sailing aboard Prolific with the Ocean Youth Trust.
He said: 'I had a wonderful time and it reignited my passion for sailing. Everyone was so helpful and it was a great day out. It was terrific to be out on the Solent with such wonderful views.’
As well as the water activities in the harbour and at the Cockle Pond for younger age groups, entertainment was provided throughout the day at the Millennium Timespace Sundial.
For more go to gosportmarinescene.com/events/gosport-marine-festival.