British Marine has confirmed it will be holding an alternative event to the Southampton Boat Show in September

Boats 2020 – an alternative event to the Southampton Boat Show – will be held in the city this September.

It follows the decision by organisers British Marine to cancel the Southampton Boat Show due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boats 2020 will be a not-for-profit outdoor and on the water event, and will run from 11-20 September at Mayflower Park.

British Marine has stressed that the health, safety and security of exhibitors, visitors and colleagues will be the number one priority.

It said extensive work had been carried out in close collaboration with Southampton City Council to stage the event and ensure it meets Public Health England COVID-19 secure requirements.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had confirmed that plans for Boats 2020 fall within current Government guidance.

‘British Marine has remained absolutely committed to supporting the industry through the provision of an event this year,’ said CEO Lesley Robinson.

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‘The staging of Boats 2020 presented by Southampton International Boat Show Ltd would not have been possible without the support of Southampton City Council and I am delighted that we have been able to make this happen, at a time when so many other events have been cancelled.’

Safety measures will focus on four cornerstones; social distancing, cleaning and hygiene, protect and detect and clear communications.

The show layout and ticketing platform aims to create a safe environment for all visitors and allow them to focus ‘on spending quality time’ with exhibitors.

Logo for Boats 2020

30 boat brands are confirmed for the event

‘This not-for-profit event will offer boat buyers and the leisure marine industry a chance to come together with the reassurance that the event is within government guidelines,’ continued Robinson.

‘Visitors will see a super range of sailing and power boats and the event format with bookable time slots on each stand will create a day of quality viewing for visitors.’

Tickets will be limited. Details of price and how to secure a ticket have not yet been released, although visitors as asked to register their interest via the Southampton Boat Show website.

They will then be contacted once full ticketing information is released.

British Marine said it will be monitoring and responding to any last-minute changes in the ever-evolving health situation.

Visitors, exhibitors and event staff will have to comply with all the latest public health advice.

Exhibitors must commit to the event by 7 August in order for the marina to be built and other operational details to be fulfilled.

To date 78 boats from 30 brands are confirmed, alongside more than 40 land-based exhibitors of related marine equipment.

4 July 2020

British Marine last night announced that the 2020 Southampton Boat Show is being postponed to 2021. It attributed the decision to government guidance on large scale gatherings, saying that an event attracting over 100,000 people is ‘simply not possible’ this year.

The national trade body for the UK marine industry, and organiser of the Southampton Boat Show, said that it is considering a smaller-scale, outdoor only event to take its place this year, but has not yet confirmed any details.

British Marine announced the decision on Friday 3 July in the following statement:

Following the COVID-19 guidelines regarding large scale gatherings, British Marine will be postponing the 52nd edition of the Southampton International Boat Show until September 2021. However, with today’s (July 3rd) government announcement stating that a timetable for events will be revealed next week, British Marine will be continuing to explore the options to run an alternative, smaller scale outdoor event.

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine said, “The world is in an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and public health is everyone’s priority. Annually Southampton International Boat Show attracts an attendance of over 100,000, with over 430 exhibitors. An event of this size and format is simply not possible this year and as such, we have made the decision to postpone it until September 2021.”

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture, Southampton City Council, commented: “Southampton is known for its jam-packed events calendar and the Boat Show is one of our biggest and most popular features, attracting tens of thousands of people into our city and putting Southampton on the map. We are keen to revive Southampton’s thriving events offer while working within public health advice and government guidelines. We look forward to welcoming back the Boat Show and celebrating everything our great city has to offer, when it is safe to do so.”

On behalf of the leisure marine industry, British Marine has been working tirelessly with event stakeholders, including Southampton City Council, to consider all options for staging an event.

Lesley Robinson continues; “As government guidance on COVID-19 evolves, British Marine will continue to work with both exhibitors and key event stakeholders to explore all other opportunities, including an alternative smaller scale outdoor event to support the leisure marine industry and its members. British Marine are encouraged by today’s government announcement that they will be setting out a timetable for getting events as COVID-19 secure as possible next week.”

Lesley said, “we’re naturally very disappointed that we cannot run the event this year in its usual magnitude and format, but the Southampton International Boat Show is a key international event, which will be back stronger than ever in 2021.  We will ensure that we make the 52nd edition one to remember.”