The 55th edition of the Southampton International Boat Show returns to Mayflower Park, Southampton, from September 13-22, 2024. To whet your appetite, here are ten great reasons to visit this year’s show.

1. Boats Galore

With everything from stand-up paddleboards to exhilarating speedboats, if you’re crazy about boats or just dipping your toe in the water, it’s the perfect place to see many different types of boats in one place. Check out hundreds of the world’s most prestigious sailing and power boats in the spectacular purpose-built show marina, which this year is undergoing a significant layout redesign focusing on a more zonal approach. The marina will showcase vessels by type, making it easier to navigate around the pontoons and compare over 350 stunning craft to find your dream boat!

Look out for – Balt, Bayliner, Cormate, Navan, Rand and many more!

Southampton International Boat show

2. Get Wet If You Want To

Give it a go for free with a whole host of hands-on experiences designed to provide you with a real taste of maritime life, perfect for comparing different boating and watersports styles and finding your sea legs.

  • Highlights On the Water Zone
    • Try-a-Boat: Sail a yacht, take the throttle of a motorboat, or feel the power of RIB blasting around Southampton water under the watchful eyes of qualified instructors with ‘Try-a-Boat’ in partnership with Flexisail.
    • Get Afloat: Try your hand at dinghy sailing, with Rockley Watersports. Set sail on dinghy joyrides with expert instructors from Rockley, allowing beginners and experienced sailors alike to navigate the waves in top-tier dinghies.
    • Mini Cruise: Enjoy a tranquil voyage around the Solent on the Ocean Scene, offering stunning views from its sundecks and refreshments from onboard bars. It’s a perfect blend of laid-back relaxation.
    • Try-a-Boat+: For a small additional price, stay out on the water longer aboard some of the most adventurous boats at the show, including the ‘Thalassa’, a 47m Dutch tall ship (VIP experience also available). Step aboard and back in time as you channel your inner pirate for this tall ship adventure, a firm favourite of kids of all ages!
  • Highlights Watersports Zone
    • Watersports Lake: In partnership with Rockley Watersports, the Watersports Lake is back and bigger than before, with even more sessions available to accommodate the growing interest in paddle sports. Whether you’re looking to improve your stand-up paddleboard skills or want to try kayaking for the first time, Rockley’s professional team are on hand to support every stroke with the best equipment and safety measures.
    • Andark Dive Tank: If you fancy getting your hair as well as your feet, then check out the Andark Dive tank, where you can try a diving or snorkelling for free.  It’s an excellent opportunity for beginners and seasoned divers to explore beneath the surface with professional guidance and top-of-the-line equipment.

Southampton International Boat show - Watersports

3. Specialist Zones

Navigate through mini ‘shows within the show’ zones tailored to specific interests, making it easy to find exactly what you are looking for.

  • Watersports Zone
    • Get your fix of unlimited watersports action, from stand-up paddleboards and surfboards to wakeboards and water-skis, as well as group activities on the water.
    • Look out for – Two Bare Feet, Lorima, Sandbanks Stye, O’Neill and many more!
  • Dinghy Zone
    • Explore all things sport and sailing dinghies, trailer boat cruisers, and high-performance equipment.
    • Look Out For: Topper, Fusion Sailboats, Rooster, Rebel Leisure and that’s just for starters!
  • Classic & Day Boat Zone, powered by Classic Boat Magazine
    • Celebrate timeless craftsmanship with modern boats inspired by traditional designs and beautifully restored classics.
    • Look Out For – Drascombe Boats, Seaspray Boats, Lakeland Wooden Boats, Willow Bay Boats and much more!
  • Mayflower Park and Ocean Hall
    • Discover leading brands, innovative boats, and unforgettable experiences. Exhibitors galore with clothing, chandlery goods, accessories, engines, technology, and gadgets
    • Look Out For – Typhoon, Nauticalia, Marlow Rope, Boatfolk, Quicksilver, Barrus, Garmin and so many more!

4. Hear From the Experts

The Foredeck Stage in Ocean Hall, sponsored by Practical Boat Owner and Yachting Monthly, features leading experts sharing knowledge on a host of boating topics. This year we are welcoming some of the biggest names from within the boating community to help us celebrate our 55th event.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • 4-time Paralympian (Sailing), Triple World Champion, Motivational Speaker and Coach, Hannah Stodel
  • Legendary yacht designer Tony Castro
  • Maiden Skipper, Heather Thomas
  • Yachtsman, adventurer, entrepreneur and the first person to sail non-stop, “the wrong way” round the world, Sir Chay Blyth
  • Pump and Wing Foiling Champion Hugo Dobrijevic
  • Expedition Zero, the world’s lowest environmental impact commercial sailing yachts
  • Norwegian designer and originator of the initial Racebird concept and driving force behind the innovative electric foiling raceboat used in E1, Sophi Horne
  • Founder of Wetwheels and the first quadriplegic yachtsman to sail solo around Great Britain, Geoff Hol
  • Former Director of Hunter boats of Essex and well-known yachting journalist Peter Poland
  • Professional Ropeworker and co-founder of the International Guild of Knot Tyers, Des Pawson MBE

And many more!

5. Activities and Attractions

Beyond the 350+ boats and 600+ exhibitors, the show offers a range of attractions to ensure you have a great day out. For starters look out for:

  • On the Water Stage Show – High-octane stunt demos from extreme sports professionals, including jet skier Jack Moule, flyboarder James Prestwood and new for this year, wingfoiling champion, Hugo Dobrijevic. Watch all the action from the Quarterdeck Bar & Restaurant terrace, where you can also enjoy the exclusive Quarterdeck burger by two Michelin starred chef, Jordan Bailey.
  • Big screen sporting action – Enjoy live action from the, including America’s Cup, with special guests direct from Barcelona, alongside live UK and international sport, including football, cricket and F1, on the Shipyard’s big screens.
  • Explore and build – Join the team from the University of Southampton (National Oceanography Centre) to explore famous shipwrecks in virtual reality or build a LEGO water defence system and test it against wave and tidal currents in the wave simulator.
  • RNLI 200th Anniversary – Celebrate with the RNLI’s Shannon Class lifeboat and the Sir William Arnold, showcasing the evolution of rescue craft.

6. Shop ‘Til You Drop

Back by popular demand, is the UK’s largest pop-up chandlery, with more retailers and chandlery stands than ever before you’ll find everything from the latest clothing, footwear, beachwear and accessories to specialist chandlery items such as shackles, ropes, electronics and engines and everything in between!

Southampton International Boat show - Southampton Boat Show - Chris Moyles

7. Festival Vibe and Late-Night Saturdays

The Shipyard, delivered by GAC Pindar, is the epicentre of entertainment, with live music and DJ sets, street food and captivating performances. This year, we’re taking the festivities up a notch as we launch our all-new late-night Saturdays with the Shipyard party continuing under the stars until 9 pm.

Headliners:

  • Opening party – Saturday 14 – Legendary DJ Chris Moyles, 90’s Hangover
  • Closing party – Saturday 21 – Symphonic Ibiza, where dance anthems meet a live orchestra

Plus:

  • Beatles Dub Club DJ set, ABBA tribute band ‘Mamma Mania’, and many more!

8. A Great Day Out for All the Family

The show offers something for everyone, including a Treasure Hunt, LEGO boat building, and a special guest appearance by Captain Ted Funnel of Red Funnel Ferries.

Family-Friendly Highlights:

  • Treasure Hunt with real-life pirate ship
  • Free entry for children 17 and under (two per paying adult)
  • Free entry for young adults 18–21

9. Add a Touch of Luxury – new location and new chef at the Quayside Club

This year, the club unveils a new location within Mayflower Park, offering a spectacular view of the marina and the On the Water Stage, plus a tantalising new menu courtesy of award-winning chef, Jonas Lodge. Ticket holders enjoy exclusive access to the Waterfront lounge, prime views, and complimentary drinks and cuisine, plus access to the brand-new Shipyard bar, VIP area, featuring a covered roof terrace offering spectacular views of both the stage and the show marina in the distance.

10. Supporting Local Charity

This year, the show partners with Southampton Hospitals Charity’s ‘Light the South’ art trail, raising funds for Southampton Children’s Hospital. Enjoy an impressive line-up of all 40 lighthouses from the ‘Light the South’ trail, plus a trail of lighthouses throughout the show as part of the Treasure Hunt. Arts & crafts areas to design your own lighthouse and look out for details of the charity auction, coming soon!

For all the latest show information and tickets, visit www.southamptonboatshow.com.

The show is open from 10 am – 6 pm daily, with extended hours on Saturdays until 9 pm. Get your tickets now and enjoy the ultimate boating experience! https://www.southamptonboatshow.com/visitor-information/tickets/

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