Success for Hampshire businesses at Southampton Boat Show

The prestigious Southampton Boat Show draws to a close with strong sales amid a fantastic festival atmosphere

Britain’s best loved boating festival, the 2016 Southampton Boat Show, drew to a close on Sunday 25 September with organisers, exhibitors, sponsors and visitors all hailing the Show a great success. A quality attendance, thrilling atmosphere, fun attractions and entertainment along with great weather all resulted in excellent enquiries and significant sales for exhibitors, instilling confidence and positivity in the industry.

One hundred and thirty Hampshire-based companies showcased their products at this year’s Southampton Boat Show. Local businesses such as Oyster Yachts, Furneaux Riddall & Co, Landau UK, MDL Marinas, Peters & May and Stephen Lees Contemporary Art, along with a number of other UK and international organisations, chose this world-leading stage as a platform for at least 33 global boat and product launches. Eight others made their European debuts, with 82 UK debuts and 40 new boats and products being welcomed over the duration of the Show. In total some 750 boats were on display, with over 330 of the world’s leading sailboats and high-performance powerboats on the water.

David Tydeman, CEO of Oyster Yachts, commented: “Oyster is proud to be a British yacht builder with more than 40 years of heritage and two Queens Awards for export. With the choices of international boat shows available, it was important to us to hold the World Premiere of the new Oyster 675 at the Southampton Boat Show, close to our south coast shipyard. The yacht was very well received and we look forward to the many sail trials with clients and press that have been arranged as a follow up. This is a very special yacht and it was also a pleasure for it to be the largest sailing yacht in the Show.”
Ben Metcalfe, Managing Director at Landau UK, commented: “As always, the sales of marine gadgets and toys have been excellent at the Show. We have met more first time buyers than previous years and the competition for over £10,000 of marine kit has been hugely popular and well exceeded our expectations. Yet again the Show has provided us with an excellent platform to carry on our strong business growth.”

Giles Weston, Managing Director at Furneaux Riddall & Co, stated: “We’ve made the biggest turnover ever on the stand here at the Boat Show; sales are being made on the spot with invoices written, sent and completed. Being located in Ocean Hall has been fantastic for footfall and we’ll be back next year in this location.”

Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, added: “Once again the Southampton Boat Show has proved to be an excellent event, attracting many of our berth holders to the show, along with a number of new customers. We have had really positive feedback on our re-designed stand and hospitality suite, welcoming over 4,000 berth holders and their guests, and we have seen a record high number of enquiries – an increase on last year! This year it was important for us to bring our ‘marina customer experience’ to the stand, through touch screens, guest speakers and events with Ocean Youth Trust South and The Sail Training awards. Most of all the show has been fun, with our cleat challenge receiving lots of interest as well as our ‘Win a berth’ competition’.

Joshua Flavell, PR Manager for Peters & May, said: “The 2016 Southampton Boat Show has been an amazing show for us. Both weekends have beaten our previous records and expectations, helped no doubt by the sunshine! So far our most successful show of 2016 with many clients taking the opportunity to catch up with us face-to-face, thank you all for taking the time to come and see us and many kind words.”

Stephen Lees, Owner of Stephen Lees Contemporary Art, noted: “I’ve had a great Show. It’s been fantastic as usual.”

New ticket initiatives for this year’s Show, aimed at driving a quality audience, resulted in an attendance of more than 109,000 visitors and importantly impressive sales reports from exhibitors and sponsors. The Show also continued its objective of growing participation, with over 10,000 visitors enjoying the chance to get out on the water. Visitors of all ages, with varying levels of experience, enjoyed options from Bumper Boats for young children right through to the unique chance of crewing a 72ft round the world ocean race yacht.

Murray Ellis, British Marine Boat Shows MD, comments: “Some serious business has been achieved across most product sectors at this year’s Show, including multi-million pound deals. Many companies have been reporting year on year increases from last year’s Show. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to give exhibitors and visitors alike a terrific 10 day event, strengthening the Show’s exceptional business reputation within the international boating calendar.”

The Show opened to the British Sailing Team, including Olympic medallists, Giles Scott, Saskia Clark, Hannah Mills and Nick Dempsey alongside award-winning actress, Michelle Keegan. A host of activity also took place on the Show’s Festival Stage powered by Datatag & the COMPASS scheme including fashion shows, live music acts and a Guinness World Record attempt. Visitors were also treated to show-stopping displays by the Royal Navy Parachute Display team, a Hurricane and Spitfire over both weekends of the Show.

British Marine, the membership organisation for the UK leisure, superyacht and small commercial industry, used the Show to highlight careers in the marine industry with 58 marine apprentices celebrating their graduation. Ministerial visits, including Rt Hon John Hayes MP, Minister for Transport, gave the membership organisation the chance to show first-hand the depth and breadth of the UK marine industry and provide details on the challenges and opportunities facing our sector. British Marine also demonstrated why Britain is a global hub for marine business and trade, working with UKTI’s export hub and welcoming international delegations from South Africa and Korea.