British Marine, the organiser of Southampton International Boat Show, has increased the capacity for attendees out on the water this year, following “positive feedback” from 2019 when over 11,000 people tried out boating at the event.
The event, from 10-19 September, will see an increased on-the-water capacity by 28%, with now 14,100 opportunities for visitors to get afloat.
British Marine’s CEO Lesley Robinson said: “Alongside coming to buy the very latest boats, products and services from the hundreds of exhibitors, the Southampton International Boat Show and its partners are working together to enable visitors, no matter what age or ability, to get out on the water and experience a wide variety of craft through our Get-A-Float, Try-A-Boat, Try-A-Boat+ attractions including the Tall Ship Morgenster and Island Scene passenger boat.”
The Get-A-Float area, organised by Rockley Watersports, provides dinghies, SUPS and kayaks sessions. Try a Boat offers visitors the chance to get out on the water onboard several different types of boats from an 11 metre Jeanneau sailing yacht, a Squib keelboat, Rodman power boat, and a range of RIBs (rigid inflatable boats).
“Other than at a boat show, it’s almost impossible to actually try a full range of boats in all different shapes, sizes and types, and prices all in one place,” said British Marine’s head of marketing and communications Adrien Burnand. “It’s like the ultimate test drive opportunity. The experienced crew will take you out, explain all about the different features, performance characteristics, and lifestyle choices available from each type of boat to help you decide what sort of boating suits you, or just to make sure you have a great day out on the water doing something you’d never normally get the chance to do.”
All the action takes place at the On the Water stage, which is located directly in front of the Quarterdeck bar and restaurant which has 50 metres of open decked balcony. Next to the VIP Captain’s Club hospitality area is the location for several spectator events, including flyboarder James Prestwood, “the man who can fly without wings”.
Prestwood said: “One of my favourite tricks is when I fly 60 feet up, wave to the crowd, and then just fall backwards in a drop flop. It always gets a good reaction from the crowd – you can literally hear them gasp.”
Jet ski freestyle performances from multi-world champion stuntmen will take place in front of the crowds at the On the Water stage, where visitors can also see powerboat races close to shore with the Team Endeavour Thundercat racing series, and head to head model boat racing with the Offshore Model Racing.