Despite global economic gloom, recalcitrant trains in the southeast and a complete no-show by the Piccadilly line, a late surge of visitors at the 48th London Boat Show has allowed the organisers to report some relatively healthy figures

The 48th London Boat Show closed on Sunday night to the beat of the Royal Marine’s Drummers. Provisional figures show 155,000 visitors enjoyed the show which offered them the widest variety of marine products to be seen anywhere in the UK. Despite rail strikes in the early part of the show, attendance grew towards the end, creating a vibrant and buoyant event with final figures on a par with last year.

Paul Streeter, managing director of National Boat Shows Ltd said, “despite the travel disruptions, not only were visitor numbers pleasing but the level of sales across all sectors are very encouraging. We were thrilled to have the best people in the business with us, as well as the most exciting features. This started with Ellen MacArthur kicking off proceedings and culminated in one lucky visitor walking away with a £50,000 sailing holiday. We are looking forward to next year being even better.”

Business at the show was exceptional, with exhibitors reporting good sales figures. Those who did particularly well were sailboat distributors and manufacturers; small boat businesses including Laser, which reported its best ever show; and engine manufacturers.

Sealine International Ltd reported its most successful London Boat Show to date. The motor boat manufacturer sold a total of 58 boats, with the new 23ft particularly successful.

Russell Culpan, Director of Boston Whaler says of the show, “It’s the best for five years, having taken fourteen orders and deposits for boats in the £15,000-£40,000 price range with most of the sales coming from the 180 Dauntless and 210 Outrage models which made their European debuts at the show”.

Andrew Growcoot of Beta Marine said “the quality of the visitors is excellent and we are delighted with the results which are better than last year. The company has taken in excess of ‘100,000 with an average unit cost of about £4,000.

Figures released at the start of the 48th London Boat Show demonstrated that the UK’s marine industry went from strength to strength in 2001, both domestically and abroad. Year on year revenues grew by nearly 10 per cent to £1.61 billion, repeating the very encouraging upward trend of recent years. The growth in revenues was matched by growth in employment with over 26,000 people now earning their living within the marine industry.