The British Marine Spring Expo 2020 drew to a close last week (5 February) having invigorated the UK industry with an ambitious vision of the future and delivered the valuable platform for learning, networking and business to kick start it into reality.
Boasting 38 expert speakers who appeared across the 30 talks and receptions held during the two-day period at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, the event witnessed the coming together of the industry to prepare for future opportunities and potential challenges.
Running through the core of this year’s Expo was British Marine’s first National Agenda which was launched on day one of the event. The ambitious plan aims to drive the vision of ‘a thriving industry delivering amazing on water experience for everyone’ into reality.
The five distinct pillars of the Agenda – Participation, People & Skills, Environment, Technology & Innovation and Representation – formed the fabric of the Expo’s packed two-day schedule of new free BM Talks which were hugely popular with the 450+ delegates who attended the event.
One of the most successful talks proved to be day two’s seminar on participation which focused on increasing diversity in sailing and saw the launch of a ground-breaking initiative to increase the participation of women in the sport from leading charity, The Magenta Project. The inspirational nature of the topic combined with an interactive panel of leading experts, including Dee Caffari MBE, Andrew Pindar OBE DL and Helena Lucas MBE, brought an infectious buzz to the event.
The Expo also featured the popular ticketed Superyacht UK Technical Seminar. Now in its 10th year, this established seminar once again successfully pulled in an international audience of superyacht professionals eager to find out the new regulations affecting the industry and current technological resolutions. At the heart of the discussions was the environment with the keynote speaker Alex Meredith Hardy, Principal Naval Architect at Lateral, looking at zero-carbon motor yachting.
Ben Taylor, Director at Flagship Digital Marketing and speaker at the Expo’s social media talk, commented: “The Expo enabled Flagship to provide valuable insights on the topic of ‘the value of social media to marine businesses’ through a seminar whilst also generating enquiries into our specialist Social Media services. This has generated an influx of enquiries for our services and leads to follow-up and develop my business.”
A hive of activity throughout the two-days, the event’s new free-to-attend Trade Connection Area provided a bustling hub for seminar break outs and networking. As well as hosting well-attended daily networking receptions, sponsored by British Marine Trades Association, the Area showcased 13 companies, from marine distributors and suppliers to equipment manufacturers and service providers, displaying their latest and most innovative products and services to the hundreds of marine professionals who visited the event. It offered both exhibitors and visitors alike the invaluable opportunity to promote their businesses, secure deals and build connections.
Danielle McLaren, Account Manager at The MTM Agency which exhibited at the Trade Connections Area, commented: “Having attended the previous Expo, The MTM Agency was keen to support British Marine and increase its exposure with other British Marine members and the wider industry. The event was busy and the quality of the delegates and the conversations we had were excellent. We look forward to seeing where the opportunities develop. We also managed to attend a number of the sessions, which were engaging and informative and it was great to hear about the National Agenda. It's definitely an event we would consider returning to in the future.”
Lesley Robinson, British Marine CEO, added: “We are delighted by the success of our second British Marine Spring Expo and the positive reception we have received from the industry both towards the Expo itself and our brand new National Agenda which we launched at the event.
“The last two days have been a true coming together of all sectors, embracing British Marine’s vision of a thriving industry delivering amazing on-water experience for everyone and turning into a collective one.
“The variety of learning, networking and business opportunities which we have enjoyed over the period of the Spring Expo is the start of what we hope to deliver for our members over the next year. We now look forward to planning for the next Expo in Autumn 2020.”