Southampton International Boat Show Returns For 51st Year


The Southampton International Boat Show opened last Friday, 13th September. Sponsored by Borrow A Boat, the show will close this Sunday 22nd September.

On Friday the show was opened by James Cracknell OBE, double Olympic gold medallist and new star of Strictly Come Dancing. He was joined by TV personality and fitness entrepreneur, Lucy Mecklenburgh.

Mr Cracknell commented,

I’m delighted to be opening the 51st Southampton International Boat Show, powered by Borrow A Boat. I’ve spent most of my life on the water, both competitively and for fun. From kayaking on the river and making rafts with mates to holiday inflatables and surfboards in the sea, the water is an amazing place to be.

His words were supported by Lesley Robinson, the CEO of British Marine, the trade association for the UK leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry.

She added,  ‘[w]e’re delighted to welcome James Cracknell and Lucy Mecklenburgh to the Show this year. Whether you’re a watersports enthusiast, boating beginner or seasoned professional, getting out on the water can be accessible, flexible and affordable.

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The SBS, now in its 51st year, attracts around 15,000 people over it’s ten day duration. Traditionally, boating has been seen as the preserve of a limited group, but the show aims to demonstrate that this is not the case. Adult tickets are priced from £22 and admission is free for under 16s. Many activities within the show are free.

It is hoped that the efforts to reduce the negative environment impact of boating will also grow its appeal – this year’s show is the most environmentally friendly yet. In addition to cutting down on paper use, the show has additional water refill points, encouraging reusable bottle usage, and has removed all plastic bottles at catering outlets. SBS have also launched an Exhibitor & Contractor Charter and new Environmental Award.

The show has partnered with Sea-Changers, a charity raising money for marine conservation projects. Since 2011, Sea-Changers has funded over 150 marine conservation projects all around the UK, including within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The show is also supporting Wetwheels, a charity aimed at supporting disabled boaters. Wetwheels provide ‘water-based activity experiences for disabled people on board specially designed boats’.

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New features this year include the Try-a-Dive, with Andark. The 13m x 8m Try-a-Dive tank is allows you to experience the underwater world through free 15-20 minute sessions which simulate scuba diving with the use of digital screen surrounding the pool.

The show is showcasing 300 boats moored along Europe’s largest purpose-built marina, and it’s land base will be Mayflower Park. One of the 300 boats is the Sunseeker 86 Yacht, measuring 26.3m and priced at £5.18 million. With a range of 1500nm (nautical miles), the Sunseeker is over 25 metres long and sets the standard for luxury yachting.
At the other end of the scale, the show features inflatables, paddle boats and dinghies. Also featured is a prize to win a Gladiator Paddle board.

This year’s show has a stellar lineup of boats, as well as over 600 marine brands. It’s open from 9.30AM and tickets are available here.


Nathaniel Ogunniyi is a second-year Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) student at the University of Southampton. He writes mostly about rugby, F1 and politics. He's also a SUSU Trustee, so chat to him if you have any concerns.

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