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.
UK and international marine companies from the likes of Oyster Yachts, Bavaria, Princess Yachts, Broom, Sunseeker International, Raymarine and Fischer Panda 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.
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.
Sean Robertson, Sales Director at Sunseeker International, commented: "This year’s Southampton Boat Show has been truly excellent - we've enjoyed a really positive event with over £45m of confirmed retail orders and an expected £10m of additional orders to be agreed in the next few days. We were particularly proud to host the UK debut of three new models, the Manhattan 52, the Predator 68 MKII and the 95 Yacht, all of which have been eagerly awaited by existing customers and those new to our brand. It's also been a real pleasure to welcome so many visitors and special guests to the stand, including our graduate apprentices and the Minister of Transport the Rt Hon John Hayes MP.
“Overall, the Show has been very encouraging and it’s great to see so much confidence in the UK boating industry. We're excited about the future opportunities that lie ahead for Sunseeker, including next year’s London Boat Show and even more new model launches."
Antoine Chancelier, Area Sales Director for Jeanneau, remarked: “We moved location at this year’s Show from the land to the marina for the first time and have had a great Show. The quality of visitors has been excellent and our sales figures are up on last year’s event. We came in to the Show cautious of the market due to the recent referendum but our success at the Show has just gone to demonstrate the confidence that’s out there in our industry.”
Kiran Haslam, Marketing Director at Princess Yachts, said: “We are proud to have been part of another successful Southampton Boat Show. Yet again it has proved an important Show in our calendar that always provides fantastic opportunities to Princess Yachts. Displaying the Princess 30M as the largest yacht at the Show and attracting a wider international footfall has been extremely positive for us.”
Ric Morris, Founder of RaceGeek, stated: “As a first time exhibitor, the Show has far exceeded our expectations. The amount of trade interest has really surprised us and the quality and volume of industry contacts has been second to none. We used the Show as a soft launch for the new product and to test out the market. We have received some fantastic feedback that has opened our eyes to new markets for our product. It is true to say that we came with a product but left with a business.”
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."
Nigel Stuart, Managing Director at Spirit Yachts, noted: "This year's Southampton Boat Show has been one of our best Shows to date. The atmosphere has been fantastic and we have had a strong amount of serious enquiries following the launch of the new Spirit 47CR cruising yacht.
Seb Hirst, Head of Sales for Sunsail and The Moorings, said: “We have had a fantastic Show and there seems to be a great atmosphere around the event this year. We’re delighted with the new look of Ocean Hall and the quality of visitor we have seen coming through the doors has been excellent. With a redesigned stand and an increase on last year’s bookings taken at the Show, we’re thrilled with what the Southampton Boat Show has delivered for us this year.”
Luke Smith, from Marine Teak, remarked: "Last year was absolutely fabulous for Marine Teak, but this year has been even better with an increase in sales of 43%."
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."
Geoff Andrews, UK & Eire Sales Manager at Sebago, commented: “The event has been a big success for us and our sales figures are up 37% on last year. We have definitely seen a better quality of visitor at this year’s Show. That, coupled with our new stand and fantastic product range, means that we’ve had our best Show in five years.”
Martyn Dury, Senior Partner at Quayside, declared: "We have been delighted with the Show. Exhibiting at the Show gives us the opportunity to talk to our customers and we are always happy to see old friends from the past. This year has been our return to the Southampton Boat Show after a few years and our customers are delighted to see Quayside actively back in the marine market and have appreciated the value of the special Show deals we've been able to offer. The layout is fantastic, with our prime position located next to the Holiday Inn enabling us to have a fabulous Show as we catch visitors on their way in and way out. We will definitely be back next year in the same spot."
Mathew Hornsby, Sales Director at Williams Jet Tenders, said: "We always enjoy exhibiting at the Southampton Boat Show and we are really pleased with the strength of interest that we have seen at this year's Show across all our model ranges. The Minijet 280, which made its UK premiere at the Show, was very well received by visitors and was demonstrated more than 50 times over the duration of the Show. Sales of this model in particular were brisk and this added to the overall feeling that people are out buying boats. Our beautiful new waterfront location with increased marina space and demonstration area reflects our exciting plans for continued growth in the year ahead."
Sarah Wallbank, Director at August Race, commented: “This year was August Race's debut at the Southampton Boat Show and we've found that it definitely lived up to its billing as a festival as opposed to just a Show. The atmosphere has been absolutely buzzing. We've had exceptional business to business dealings and have been welcomed into the Show's community. Prior to this Show, we have exclusively supplied the professionals with our products so it was great to see us represented all around the Show by companies, such as Cobra Ribs and Selva. But also to have existing customers come up and tell us how great the products are. Sales to the public have been excellent and we're already planning which new products to get into production in order to showcase them at the 2017 Southampton Boat Show.”
Greg Houlston, General Manager for Broom, stated: “This is the sixth year exhibiting at the Southampton Boat Show and the second for Broom Marine Services. We took the biggest stand pitch this year to showcase the fantastic array of products in our range and sales done at the event are up on last year. The quality of visitor and customer feedback about our boats in particular has been excellent and we have already made enquiries about booking space for next year.”
Tim Thornhill, Head of Marine at Towergate Insurance, remarked: "Southampton Boat Show this year was about so much more than simply boats. It was about our community in which we love to belong. At Towergate Insurance, we took a plunge into a waterfront stand and have been buoyed by the results. We showcased everything that we have to offer and enjoyed conversations with existing and new potential customers. It provided a fantastic place to converse, do business and share jokes with our friends in the marine world."
Will Marrs, Sales Manager at Golden Arrow Marine, noted: “Golden Arrow Marine is delighted with the value of the cold called end user purchases we have transacted here at the Show. We have had strong sales for Volvo Penta, Evinrude G2 (the most selfie photographed engine ever!?), Torqeedo and huge interest from OEM and retrofit market in our new Humphree 24V DC Electric Stabilisation and Interceptors. Southampton Boat Show is a stand-out show for us, recapturing the successes of Southampton Boat Shows from years gone by.”
Allan Murray, General Manager at Z Spars International Ltd, stated: "We love the new layout and being within Ocean Hall. Being in this location has attracted good footfall and a large amount of genuine interest. The individuals who are approaching us are coming to buy."
Russell Currie, Managing Director at Fairline Yachts, said: “We consider this to have been a fantastic Southampton Boat Show for Fairline Yachts. We had a great range of worldwide press and VIPs at our launch event for the new Targa 53 OPEN, where attendees were able to hear first-hand of the passion from our Italian design partner, Alberto Mancini.
“Customer deposits have been taken for boats across the range, including Mancini’s first Fairline design, the Targa 63 GTO. With customer pre-orders taken and still a year to go before the boat is officially launched at Cannes Yachting Festival 2017, we’re very pleased with the response to this new design. The Show has provided a great platform for us to present our range of boats, from the new Squadron 65 Hardtop to the Targa 48 OPEN and it was pleasing to see so many customers, old and new, enjoying the Show.”
Ella Chivers, Marketing Director at Ribeye, commented: “The Southampton Boat Show had a great vibe this year and visitors really seemed to be enjoying themselves. From a Ribeye perspective the Show has been very strong. We have invested heavily over the last few years on product development and British manufacturing which is definitely coming into fruition.”
Robert McKelvey, Partner at Eagle Boat Windows, declared: "This has been the best Show for us since 2011, having exceeded our numbers of the last five years. Physically, the layout is much better this year. In previous years we have been located in the far end of the old Ocean Hall and we've found that this new layout, with staggered walkways, has been better for us and brings in more footfall. We will definitely be back next year."
John Arnold, UK Sales Manager for Torqeedo, said: “This year’s Southampton Boat Show has far surpassed our expectations! We completed more sales on the first day (Friday 16 September) than at any other UK Show, and our overall Show sales have beaten past UK records, so I’m delighted!
“We are getting the right kind of customer through the doors – who are genuinely interested in buying. We saw particular interest in our new range of Fixed Pod Cruise motors, from both the general customer as well as businesses, boatbuilders and even petrol outboard dealers! Torqeedo has been exhibiting at Southampton for around 10 years now, and this year customers and dealers alike know exactly who we are and what they want, which is great for business. We’ve had an outstanding year and look forward to 2017.”
Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, commented: “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'.
Jane Sanders, Director at Learn2Sail, remarked: "We've enjoyed the changes to the Show this year, in particular the layout of Ocean Hall. There is a good general feel in the hall and around the stand. The Show being 10 days works really well for us and we don't do any other Shows apart from those organised by British Marine Boat Shows."
Paul Hallett, from Ship Shape World, said: “We have been absolutely delighted with this year's Southampton Boat Show. The quality of customers has been fantastic. Being situated in Ocean Hall has been great for increasing footfall to our stand as there's a lively vibe and customers have appreciated having everything under one roof. Feedback from our customers is that this has been one of the best shows. Ship Shape Bedding will definitely be returning next year!"
Joshua Flavell, PR Manager for Peters & May, stated: “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.”
Andy Eakins, from Kube, declared: “The Southampton Boat Show was the first UK show that we’ve had a presence at and have gained some fantastic feedback into our prospective market. The Show has exceeded our expectations and the brand awareness for the product has been excellent.”
Neale Byart, Editor of Motorboat Owner, said: “This is our fourth Southampton Boat Show and has been one of the best yet. The Show has a busy, feel-good vibe, and we are getting many new sign ups, as well as meeting lots of existing readers. It’s also been a great show for new boat models, and exciting new boating related equipment, that are going to keep us busy testing and reviewing for months to come.”
Greg Chiappini, Head of Aviation and Marine at Lombard, remarked: “The business outlook is good for Lombard Marine following the Southampton Boat Show. We’ve seen consolidation of the uplift in transactions that we saw last year, maintaining the high level of completed deals and we expect to see double digit growth at the end of the year.”
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.”
Liz Abbiss, Director at diYachting Ltd, noted: “Southampton Boat Show seems to have been a great success for diYachting, the response to our products was very welcoming and we seem to have had some excellent leads that should turn into bookings. It is always a friendly and upbeat Show and we enjoy meeting lots of nice people having a great day out.”
Stephen Morris, Head of Power Products at Honda (UK), commented: “The Show this year has been tremendous, we can report that we’ve sold lots of product: both engines and boats and as a side lots of interest in our motorbikes! Additionally, it’s great to use the Show to present the award to the amazing youngsters in the RYA / Honda Youth Rib Challenge, it’s always a highlight to see the competence of such young people on the water. Here’s hoping next year the sun shines like it did this year.”
Mike Williams, Area Sales Manager at E. P. Barrus, said: “This year we are up on sales and we enjoyed great success during the first weekend of the Show. Our bigger engines have been particularly well received.”
Stephen Lees, Owner of Stephen Lees Contemporary Art, noted: "I've had a great Show. It's been fantastic as usual."