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British Marine Digital Autumn Expo hailed a success

Published on: 16 November 2020

BM Autumn Expo News Image

British Marine Digital Autumn Expo hailed a success!

British Marine Digital Autumn Expo hailed as a success




The British Marine Digital Autumn Expo 2020 drew to a close yesterday (12 November) after freshly energising the UK industry with three days of learning and networking. In a year when meeting in person has been difficult, 404 participants from across the industry and the United Kingdom came together online to collectively reflect on the past year, discuss current challenges and prepare for future opportunities. 

A fantastic line up of 33 expert speakers, including special guests from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, the Canal & River Trust and the Motorsport Industry Association, presented at 16 webinars and networking sessions covering a wide range of hot topics. 

Confirming that the industry understands the importance of preserving the marine environment that they work in, the Alternative Propulsion session attracted a large audience and sparked much debate. To assist members as well as their customers with minimising impact on the environment, attendees were updated on existing and emerging technologies to promote sustainable operations.


The Apprenticeship session, which was geared towards helping employers understand the current programmes available was well-attended. Members recognise that the success of their business is built around their workforce, and during this session many were pleased to receive advice and support best suited to their requirements. 


Drew McDonald, Director of The Marine Group Ltd, said; “It was great to join today’s ‘Apprentices Session’. The content was well put together and flawlessly presented on Zoom. It is exciting to hear of the progress being made by British Marine in this much needed and often overlooked area of human resources. We, as a business, are looking to develop an apprenticeship programme that brings young talent into our fast-growing team and so it was time well spent. Thank you to everyone taking part.”


One of the most successful elements of the Expo proved to be the morning networking sessions bringing a buzz each day along with calls for a continuation of the sessions in the future. Creating the opportunity to connect with people from all sectors of the industry whose paths would not usually cross, discussions ranged from the environment and participation to Brexit preparation and overseas trade and more.


Ben Taylor, Director at Taylor Digital and host of the Expo’s morning networking sessions, commented: As host, it was remarkable to see British Marine members from across the country tune in and embrace the opportunity to network with other members online. The online format improved accessibility and lowered the expense for members to access the value of networking that arises from British Marine events. Members had group discussions in breakout rooms of four to six people who they may or may not already know. We saw an array of businesses from marinas and boat builders to insurance professionals and technology advisors – all together in one virtual space! Fantastic to be a part of it.” 

Lesley Robinson, British Marine CEO, added: “I am delighted by the success of our first ever digital British Marine Expo and the positive reception we have received from the industry towards the format. British Marine Expos are aimed at bringing the industry together and sharing knowledge and guidance, and although this year moving online was the only option, I am happy that we have been able to adapt to still connect. 


“The feedback from the networking sessions was overwhelmingly encouraging. Certainly, there is a consensus to continue these in a similar format on a monthly basis and British Marine will be exploring the possibilities. 

“The variety of learning, networking and business opportunities which we have enjoyed over the Expo highlights the diverse work of British Marine, the support and guidance available to members and set out what we hope to deliver over the next year.” 


What British Marine members said:


The Participation session was very useful with all the presenters being honest about the challenges and on how their businesses have adapted and learnt. There were also some very interesting insights into the changing market, demands and age profile of customers, which all bodes well for the future.

Guy Malpas, Director – Marine & Watersports, Kelebek Consulting


It was very interesting to learn more about the different technologies being introduced into the marine sector at the Motorsport to Marine session and to learn about new materials becoming available as alternatives to carbon fibre. It was also great to see more focus on electric propulsion, as this gains popularity and is growing to be more commonplace. I look forward to future sessions with the Motorsport Industry Association.
Andy Parker, Technical Sales Manager, Mastervolt & Power Products LLC

It has been great to get a feel for where the industry is at the moment, from both a technical and consumer perspective. All the sessions I attended have been helpful with a huge amount covered in the sessions in a short amount of time. Being mainly a B2B business, I don’t always have direct access to consumer trends, so having the Expo as an open forum with the opportunity to ask questions, meet the right people and share information is invaluable for me. 
Adrian Barber, Managing Director, EMB Power Ltd


“British Marine has put a lot of effort into the Expo, and it has come together very well. The enforced networking was more fun than expected, and I met some very interesting people I otherwise wouldn’t have. The sessions I attended, including the Alternative Propulsion workshop, were well organised".

Nigel Stevens, Shire Cruisers


"Great discussion today around new boating participation, from paddle boards up, and the importance of basic training to encourage long term engagement. Obviously very important for the entire industry.” 

Ian Cooke, British Marine President


During the months of lockdown and having attended many industry events from different organisations and companies, the British Marine Digital Expo networking session is the first proper networking session that has allowed us to mix and mingle with fellow participants. Too often, we have been on ‘receive only’ and not been able to meet directly with our fellow participants as one would at any normal conference. This is a tremendous step forward and should be expanded on further by using the time between presentations as open or managed networking.

Charles Hansard – Micfil Ultra Fine Filters (UK)


I think the Expo is a marvellous idea by British Marine, well done for organising. Today’s session to do with Financial Business Support was good. Jayne Sime of the Solent LEP was very useful with simple information geared towards small businesses like us. 

Ally Bland, Director, Tecsew Group


Today’s Insurance session was thought provoking and gave a great insight to what could happen if something goes wrong, particularly if subcontractors and boat owners have access to the boat at the same time. My advice would be for all marina managers, boat hire operators and company owners to re-watch this webinar when it becomes available online.

Paula Syred, Fox Narrowboats


Catch up on all recordings from the Autumn Expo here.