A FLEET of marine firms from Portsmouth and the surrounding area is set to showcase wares next week at the 14th Seawork International exhibition.
It is a chance for all types of businesses within the marine world to come together, network and show off their products.
Unlike most boat shows, which are aimed at the leisure industry, Seawork is a business-to-business event.
And despite the recession it has gone from strength to strength, with more than 7,000 visitors last year and an extra 50 stall spaces available this year.
The event is organised by Fareham firm Mercator Media, and will take place at ABP Port of Southampton from Tuesday until Thursday.
The event is set to be opened by Under Secretary of State for Transport, Mike Penning, the maritime minister.
Mercator managing director, Andrew Webster, said: ‘The audience that we have is typically made up of people such as harbour masters and marine operations managers to people from dredging companies.
‘These firms might work with each other, but might not necessarily meet, so they use Seawork as a networking event.’
Companies from around the globe have booked places at the event, from Australia to Finland, Canada to Madagascar.
And one of the biggest draws will be the innovations showcase, where new products and services which have come into the marketplace during the last year are demonstrated and entered into the Seawork Awards, held on Tuesday evening.
The event also features the Seawork Conference, a three-day event which looks at the latest issues within legislation, operations and the environment which are impacting on the industry.
The event is being backed by Crown Estates and Renewables UK.
Amongst those from the Portsmouth area which will be exhibiting are Raymarine, BAE Systems Surface Ships, Saab Seaeye, Meercat Workboats and C A Clase, of Waterlooville, which will use the event to premiere the world’s smallest VSAT maritime satellite communication system.
Mercator sales director Leanne Stewart said: ‘We are investing significantly in Seawork even though there’s been talk of recession, and we’ve really been able to weather the storm and get bigger and better.
‘In terms of growth we’ve been growing 10 per cent each year, but this year we have seen 20 per cent growth for the event.’