The 2014 London Boat Show, Europe’s first boat show of the year, drew to a close yesterday (Sunday 12 January). The Show, which celebrated its 60th anniversary, presented the best of the marine industry and good quality business was conducted at a time when the £2.905bn industry is demonstrating optimism and confidence for the months ahead. A total of 88,593 visited the London Boat Show at ExCeL across the nine days*.
The event continues to be a vital showcase for the UK leisure marine industry. The latest research from the British Marine Federation indicates that the domestic market is set to build on the latest 1.7% industry growth**, with current performance indicators recording levels not seen since before the recession. Sales from this year’s Show confirm this, with some exhibitors experiencing record-breaking sales figures. Over 400 exhibitors used the Show as a platform to display their products, with nine world debuts and 19 European and UK launches took place throughout the Show, culminating in a total of 76 launches at the Show in total.
Adding to the day out experience were the popular attractions, including the Adventurous Cruising Zone, where industry experts shared their knowledge on topics from navigation to boat handling, and the Watersports Pool which saw visitors queuing to try a range of sports from canoeing to stand up paddle boarding and water walkers in free taster sessions.
Murray Ellis, Managing Director of National Boat Shows: “We are pleased with the success of the 2014 London Boat Show and have celebrated its 60th anniversary with some of the best brands in the marine industry. Thousands of boats, brands, technology, training and free interactive attractions have filled the nine days which has led to the positive feedback from both exhibitors and visitors. We are delighted with the high quality of visitors who came to this year’s Show and the number of exhibitors who have signed up to exhibit in 2015.”
Peter Gordon, Chairman, National Boat Shows added: “The research revealed by the British Marine Federation at the Show, which highlights the marine industry’s significant contribution to the UK economy, emphasises the fundamental purpose of our event to showcase the best brands in this sector. Business conducted at the Show, the first in the European calendar, demonstrates the confidence in the market and the turning point for the UK leisure marine industry. The value of this event is further emphasised by 76 debuts being held at the Show and a number of new brands showcasing their products, which proves that brands have trust in the Show and the quality of its visitors.”
Exhibitors, to date, signing up to return to the Show next year include: Pearl Motor Yachts, Navionics, Cobra Ribs, Offaxis, Sleipner Motor, Learn 2 Sail, Cruising Association, Cornish Crabbers, Mersea Trailers, Sail Ionian, Hobo Yachting, GN Espace, Fairline, Princess, Volvo, Rolly Tasker Sails, IPC, Furuno, EP Barrus, Gibbs Boat Sales, Sealine, Rockley Watersports, Topper International, Nisos Yacht Charter, Cambrian Boat Centre, Aura Yachting, Pure Latitude, R&D Marine, The Boat Crew, Flexisail and many more. Inspiration Marine – Chris Oddie, Financial Director “We have had a lot of interest; people are starting to spend money. The interest has been across the range of Hanse, Dehler and Greenline. We are always happy to come here and wish more of our competitors would as more competition makes it easier. “Across the board in all sizes we are on a par with last year, with lots of follow ups to do and we are confident we will beat last year’s sales figures. Onwards we will have 13 or 14 boats at the PSP Southampton Boat Show.”
Fairline Boats – Oliver Winbolt, Head of Marketing “Fairline has enjoyed another very successful London Boat show. Our new layout has made it easier for our clients to view our boats, while attractions such as the Concept Cinema have been busy throughout the show. Sales have been excellent with the final total due to exceed 2013, further extending our forward order book into late 2014 in some cases. In addition, we anticipate a significant number of retail sales during the coming weeks as a direct result of customers who have been introduced to the brand at this event. “There is no better way to start the boating season than by taking advantage of this ideal sales opportunity in January. The London Boat Show continues to be one of the most important sales events in the Fairline calendar and we look forward to returning in 2015.”
A-Glaze – Michael Bollom, Chairman “The London Boat Show has been absolutely superb; our sales are 58% up. The people who have made the effort to come here are the people who have come here to buy. We have seen a lot of people and picked up two new distributors. We will definitely be back, we have already signed up. This Show is important, it is always a good Show for us. We would be very disappointed if it didn’t continue.” Hartley Boats – Mark Hartley, Director “It’s been very very good. We’ve had plenty of sales this week and plenty of new people introduced to sailing. For us we had a lot of international people as well – it’s been good to get the overseas guys in. They’ve been really keen on the product. For us it’s a definite, we’ve got to come here and exhibit.”
The Show continues to attract a number of celebrities and personalities. HRH The Princess Royal made her annual visit while actor and comedian James Corden and TV personality Suzi Perry made special appearances. Sailing hero, Sir Ben Ainslie visited the Show, and brought his JP Morgan BAR AC45, which resulted in a positive reception from the visitors. TV presenters Lorraine Kelly, Nick Knowles, Sarah Beeny, Dominic Littlewood and John Sargeant have also been in; plus Olympians including Etienne Stott, Shirley Robertson, Bryony Shaw, Paul Goodison, Stevie Morrison, Pippa Wilson visited, many of them taking time to visit the Show’s official charity, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.
With much of the country experiencing unprecedented levels of flooding, exhibitors at the London Boat Show joined forces to come to the rescue of Muchelney, on the Somerset Levels, which is severely flooded to the extent that the entire village is now totally cut off from the surrounding areas. The boat, engine, lifejackets, safety and radio equipment, insurance and transport of the boat to Somerset has all been provided through the goodwill of London Boat Show and British marine companies including ADPR, ASAP, BHG Marine, Coleman, Event Broadcast, Garmin, ICOM, IPC, Marine Resources, Ocean Safety, PSP, Rigiflex and Torqeedo.
The 2014 PSP Southampton Boat Show will take place from 12-21 September http://www.southamptonboatshow.com/, while next year’s London Boat Show runs from 10-18 January 2015 at ExCeL London.
Show visitor views at the ILBC www.worldsportsboats.ning.com