Southampton Boat Show sees busy first weekend with 2,000 getting on to the water

THE much-anticipated return of Britain’s biggest boating and watersports show has already made a big splash during its first weekend.

By Kimberley Barber
Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 3:22 pm
Southampton Boat Show 2021
Southampton Boat Show 2021

The show was opened by members of the British Olympic Sailing Team, including Hayling Island’s gold medallist Eilidh McIntyre, and Ian Cooke, president of British Marine, on Fiday.

Visitors flocked to Southampton’s Mayflower Park for the show, which ends on Sunday.

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Southampton Boat Show 2021

Ian said the new and improved layout of the 52nd edition of the show has been extremely well-received.

He said: ‘We’ve received fantastic feedback from visitors and exhibitors regarding the new layout of the event and everyone is hugely excited to be back. I’m extremely proud to be a part of this and look forward to building on it for next year.’

Visitors have been enjoying an exciting programme of talks and presentations from guest speakers and more than 2,000 people got a chance to get out on the water over the first three days.

Exhibitor stands were busy and there have been queues of boat enthusiasts waiting to take a look inside the hundreds of sailing yachts and motor boats on display in the marina.

Southampton Boat Show 2021

Lizzie Mitchell, from Premier Marinas, which operates 10 marinas on the south coast, said: ‘It’s great to be back at the show and engaging with new and existing customers on a one-to-one basis and it’s a great atmosphere.’

Other businesses were also delighted with the trade.

Roger Lipman, sales director, Princess Motor Yacht Sales, said: ‘We’re really happy to be here for the return of the show. The market remains buoyant, and we have a fantastic display of yachts on the marina.’

Sean Robertson, sales director, Sunseeker, said: ‘We’ve had an excellent start, we’re speaking to the right people, great clients and its very positive.’

Matt Ovenden, CEO and founder, Borrow A Boat, said: ‘The footfall and engagement from customers far exceeded our expectations and made it the best single day we’ve ever had at the show. It’s so encouraging for the industry.’

Whilst the pandemic saw a pause of the show, the leisure marine industry is recovering well and has benefited from the great British staycation with British Marine’s latest boat sales statistics providing strong evidence of this recovery. Sales in the first half of 2021 are a fifth (21 per cent) higher than pre-Covid sales in 2019.