Be inspired and have a go is the message at this year’s Southampton International Boat Show with the On the Water Zone showcasing awe-inspiring, thrilling and breath-taking action-packed displays, and offering visitors a chance to get out on the water and have a go too!
Organisers British Marine have increased the capacity for getting people out on the water to have a go, following positive feedback after its 2019 event when over 11,000 people tried out boating at the event.
“We know that visitors really enjoy actually getting out on the water so this year the team has worked really had to increase capacity by almost 30%, so there are over 14,000 opportunities to get afloat. 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-Afloat, Try-A-Boat, Try-A-Boat+ attractions including the Tall Ship Morgenster and Island Scene passenger boat.”Lesley Robinson, British Marine CEO
The Get-Afloat area, organised by Rockley Watersports, provides fun and safe instructed sessions in dinghies, SUPs and kayaks. “Get Afloat runs every day encouraging people to come and have a go on the water,” says Pip Woods, MD of Rockley Watersports. “Our sole aim is to introduce as many people different activities, having fun on SUPs, kayaks and in dinghies.” Much of the kit used by Rockley, such as inflatable SUPs and sailing dinghies, is available for sale at the show. “We love getting new people out on the water, providing advice on where to go and what to do next, and hopefully getting them hooked on a lifetime love of watersports,” says Pip.
Try a Boat offers visitors the chance to experience getting out on the water onboard a number of different types of boats from a 37 foot Jeanneau sailing yacht, a Squib keelboat, Rodman powerboat, and a range of racy RIBs. With opportunities for everyone, including specially adapted fully accessible powerboat Wetwheels, it’s a unique opportunity to see and try lots of different craft in one place. “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,” says British Marine’s Head of Marketing & Communications Adrien Burnand. “It’s like the ultimate test drive opportunity. 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 50m of open decked balcony providing grand stand viewing. Adjacent to the VIP Captain’s Club hospitality area, it’s the location for a number of exciting spectator events, including Flyboarder James Prestwood, “the man who can fly without wings”. James will be performing his awe-inspiring show action-packed with tricks, soaring high in the air. “One of my favourite tricks is when I fly 60 foot up, wave to the crowd, and then just fall backwards in a drop flop,” says James. “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 action-packed powerboat races close to shore with the Team Endeavour Thundercat racing series, and head to head model boat racing with the Offshore Model Racing Association.
Bookings for Get-Afloat, Try-A-Boat, and Try-A Boat+, which includes the tall ship Morgenster, passenger cruiser Island Scene and other crewed yachts can be made at the central Festival Green area, which is host to family entertainment, with music playing throughout the day and into the early evening. With plenty of tasty and high-quality premium street food offerings, it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the fun.
Running over 10 days, advance tickets for the event can now be purchased online at www.southamptonboatshow.com,