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£3.17bn UK industry kicks off the season at British Marine Expo

Published on: 29 March 2019

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The inaugural British Marine Expo, in association with HPi Verification Services, drew to a close on Wednesday (27 March 2019) amongst a backdrop of learning, networking, awards and business deals being reported.

Offering something for professionals spanning the industry, from global superyacht manufacturers to marine sole traders, the event provided a unique insight into the hot topics, upcoming trends and latest opportunities for the year ahead.

Boasting close to 50 expert speakers who appeared across the 20 meetings, seminars and receptions held during the two day period at St. Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, this new event witnessed the coming together of the industry to celebrate and prepare for the season ahead.

The event welcomed over 750 delegates looking to exploit the excellent business opportunities on offer and saw an additional 1,000 marine professionals tune in to some of its most popular talks aired live on social media.

At a time when sustainability is high on the national agenda, the environment was a recurring theme across the two days with the question on everyone lips, ‘What more can the industry do to protect the environment?’

The first day started with a thought-provoking panel debate with sailing representatives and industry elite, including special guest Dee Caffari MBE, discussing the latest environmental research and conservation projects. The second day featured an engaging talk on the British Marine and RYA’s joint environmental initiative, The Green Blue, and initial details on what British Marine is doing to further minimise the impact of its world-class event, Southampton International Boat Show, on the planet in 2019.

The Expo was rounded off with an inspiring keynote from Nigel Stuart, Managing Director at Spirit Yachts, on ‘Sustainable sailing: a goal with no compromise’. Presenting at the Superyacht UK Technical Seminar, Nigel gave a passionate talk to a packed audience eager to hear his opinion on the environmental challenges faced by the industry and the collaborative approach needed to secure longevity for the sector.

Other memorable moments included a fascinating speech from Chris Aylett, CEO of the Motorsports Industry Association (MIA), filled with invaluable learnings to be taken from the many parallels between the marine and automotive industries. Plus, the renowned Meet the Buyer event welcomed 22 British suppliers eager to secure their share of the £1.5m+ worth of deals expected to be done with the 10 domestic and international buyers from the event.

There was also a host of prestigious industry awards presented throughout the Expo. This included the British Marine Leisure Boating Customer Service Award, which was announced at a bustling British Marine Sailing and British Marine Leisure Boating event. The British Marine Trades Association Awards and Boating Business Awards, were also both announced at the renowned British Marine Trades Association Dinner on the Tuesday night.

At the heart of the Expo was the new Marine Showcase, supported by British Marine Trades Association. It showcased 32 companies, from marine distributors and suppliers to equipment manufacturers and service providers, displaying their latest and most innovative products and services to the hundreds of marine professionals who visited the event across the two days. Proving a buzzing hub for seminar break outs, networking receptions and hospitality, it offered both exhibitors and visitors alike the invaluable opportunity to promote their businesses, secure deals and build connections.

Iain Cook, Product Manager at Scanstrut and a Marine Showcase exhibitor, commented: “It’s been great. We’ve had enquiries here which we wouldn’t have had anywhere else.”

Also exhibiting, James Ward, Managing Director at Marine Resources, added: “I think the variety of things that has been happening here over the last two days has brought a really good broad variety of marine industry professionals

Lesley Robinson, CEO at British Marine, remarked: “We couldn’t be more delighted by the success of our first ever British Marine Expo and the positive reception we have received from the industry. It was a true coming together of all sectors. An opportunity for businesses to work together, network and learn about what’s happening in the industry, especially the challenges but more importantly the growth opportunities which are available.

“Across the two days the Expo has housed numerous events and seminars for delegates. This included Meet the Buyer, the Supply Chain Conference, which was a real coming together of everyone involved in the supplying the end product for the end-user, and the Superyacht UK Technical Seminar, where attendees learnt all about regulations and technical innovations. Good business has been done at this year’s Expo and we now look forward to planning for 2020.”