|It has been a fabulous first few days at the 53rd Southampton International Boat Show with thousands of visitors from nautical newbies to seafaring superfans enjoying the late summer sun and the hundreds of exhibitors showcasing the very best of the leisure marine industry.
The show did not open on Monday 19 September, a day of national mourning and remembrance for her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The show re-opened on Tuesday and will run until Sunday 25 September.
Getting underway on Friday (19 September) British Marine President, Paul Gullett was joined by CEO Lesley Robinson, Chair, Matt Beckwith, former President Ian Cooke and Richard Roberts, British Marine Hampshire Ambassador, CEO & Founder TheYachtMarket.com to officially declare the show open.
While over on the water professional fly boarder, James Prestwood, put his own unique spin on the show opening with a dramatic mid-somersault ribbon cutting as he hovered over the water.
At midday each day a minute’s silence was held as a mark of respect for Her Majesty the Queen, while at the show entrance a dedicated memorial to Her Majesty allowed visitors to leave plastic-free flowers in remembrance.
Inside the show visitors could explore multiple attractions, including some incredible historic craft, weave their way through the dedicated themed zones – Dinghy Zone, Watersports Zone, Classic & Day Boat Zone, with each showcasing a whole host of products and services, with experts on hand to provide loads of useful advice and information. While over at the On The Water Zone, Get Afloat, Try-a-Boat and Try-a-Boat+ provided visitors with the chance to give it a go with options to get out on the water and try everything from stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking, to high-speed RIB rides and sailing.
Local football legend Franny Benali joined us at the show, arriving by boat, before heading to the Foredeck stage to talk about his boating journey from ‘zero to hero’. He joined a packed schedule of interesting and insightful talks scheduled throughout the day from tips on casting off and coming alongside to the filming of Swallows and Amazons with actress Sophie Neville.
As the show moves into the fourth year of its five-year sustainability pledge, exhibitors boatfolk were crowned winners of the Exhibitor Environmental Awards, with ePropulsion taking second place and Sunsail third. Presented by renowned yachtsman Mike Golding, the awards recognised the efforts of exhibitors in support of the show’s pledge.
The new Quayside Club also proved popular with guests as they enjoyed a 5* VIP experience in the Waterfront Lounge. With amazing food, views over the beautiful show marina and the opportunity to get out on the water on board fascinating and historic craft such as the Morgenster tall ship, F8 landing craft, P-Class high speed RIB and Motor Gun Boat 81, it’s the must have ticket to make your boat show visit extra special. Find out more about Quayside Club at www.southamptonboatshow.com/vip/
Moving into Saturday and students and teachers from the local Redbridge Community School experienced a wonderful trip on board ‘Prolific’ thanks to Ocean Youth Trust South. During their day long voyage they tried their hand a navigation, helming and learned a whole host of new skills.
The daily kids treasure hunt proved popular with younger visitors as they sort out the clues hidden around the show, before encountering some real-life pirates on board the majestic tall ship Morgenster.
The show’s famous Guinness Bar and food court also proved extremely popular with visitors with a whole host of street vendors serving up a range of delicious food.
Sunday got underway bright and early with the inaugural Southampton International Boat Show open water swimming event, hosted by Rees Leisure, raising money for local charity the Rose Road Association.
Launching from one end of the Southampton International Boat Show, the 80 swimmers embarked on a 1.25km swim around the show past tall ships, sailing yachts and motor cruisers. Some swimmers enjoyed it so much they even got back in to do another lap!
The event raised over £5,000 for the charity who provides direct care services to children and young adults with severe physical disabilities, profound and multiple learning difficulties, and complex health needs from across Hampshire and the surrounding counties.
There was another packed line-up on the Foredeck stage including the likes of Tom Cunliffe who provided visitors with loads of great tips on choosing the right boat, while Will Croxford talked about his preparations for a non-stop solo circumnavigation.
With so many activities taking place both on the water and shoreside, visitors have been spoilt for choice.
We look forward to welcoming even more people to the show when we re-open on Tuesday.
Get your ticket
Tickets for the Boat Show can be purchased online at www.southamptonboatshow.com/visitor-information/tickets/
Upgrade your visit with the new and exclusive Quayside Club VIP packages at https://www.southamptonboatshow.com/vip/
The show will be open from 10am – 6pm daily
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