Getting kitted out for the first time

Five top tips on how the boat show can help you

As the biggest marine festival in the UK the Southampton International Boat Show is the perfect place to help you get properly equipped for any boating or watersports activity for the first time.

By exploring all the show has to offer, you can not only equip yourself with the necessary gear but also gain a solid understanding of what to expect as you begin your boating journey.

Here are just five ways in which the boat show can help…

Boats, boards and much more

One of the main draws of the Southampton Boat Show is the wide range of boats on display, from small dinghies to luxury yachts. As a beginner, this gives you an opportunity to see different types of boats, learn about their features, and determine what type of boat would be most suitable for your needs. You can climb aboard, explore the different layouts and facilities, and even speak directly with the manufacturers or dealers.

If you’re into watersports like wakeboarding or water skiing, you might also be in the market for a boat. The show is an ideal place to explore various types of boats suitable for towing watersport equipment.


The show also boosts a whole host of watersports equipment including kayaks and canoes, paddleboards and windsurfs, foiling boards and even e-bikes!   With so many brands in a single location, it’s a great place to compare different products and find what’s right for you.  You can see, touch, and often test the newest watersports equipment on the market. This can give you an idea of what’s available, how different pieces of equipment work, and what you might need to get started.

Equipment and Accessories

With over 600 exhibitors the show features an extensive range of marine equipment, outdoor leisure gear, and the latest electronics. You can find everything from life jackets and wet suits to navigation systems and boating accessories. It’s a great place to start building your kit with items that are essential for boating.

Exclusive deals and boat show discounts

Many exhibitors often offer exclusive boat show deals, giving you the opportunity to purchase your boating equipment at a discounted rate. This can be a cost-effective way to get way to get kitted out. So have a shop around and you might find yourself some exclusive show bargains.

Advice, information and inspiration

One of the most valuable aspects of the Southampton Boat Show for newcomers is the wealth of knowledge and advice available. You can speak directly with professionals in the industry, get tips on what gear is necessary for beginners, and ask questions about boat maintenance, safety, and best practices.

The Show is also a great place to get loads of information on popular watersports and boating destinations. This can be a great source of inspiration if you’re looking for new places to test your skills.

Workshops and Demonstrations

At the show you’ll find lots of workshops, demonstrations, and seminars. These sessions can provide you with practical knowledge and training, such as how to operate a boat, understanding weather patterns, or even maintenance tasks. They also allow you to see the products in action and understand their features, usage, and benefits better.

You’ll find workshops and demos on various stands around the show as well as on the Foredeck stage. Take a seat and enjoy engaging talks, interactive Q&A sessions and debates from sporting stars, industry experts and internationally renowned marine brands. Full line-up coming soon!


Remember, it’s important to prioritise the appropriate safety equipment for the activity you are doing first, such as life jackets and buoyancy aids, kill cords, VHF radios, and first aid kits. You’ll may also need navigation tools, including charts and compasses. Once these essential items are covered, you can start considering comfort items and additional accessories.