MORE than 13,000 visitors flocked to Scotland’s Boat Show 2014 at Kip Marina, Inverkip last weekend with boat sales topping £2million, a figure which should double as more purchases are completed.
The event is the largest boat show in Scotland - the third largest in the UK - and had more than £15million worth of boats on display, from a £500 dinghy to an £800,000 Sunseeker luxury powerboat.
Designated a an official Homecoming Scotland 2014 event, the show attracted visitors from far and wide after global promotion by EventScotland and VisitScotland.
Boat sales began straight away with a brand new Hanse 325 being sold at 10.30am on opening day followed throughout the weekend by sales totalling more than £2 million – a number which is expected to double as prospective buyers complete their purchases.
New boat sales reached pre-recession levels with three sold during the weekend and a record level of new enquiries. Miles Stratton of Inspiration Marine Group said: “We are delighted with the sales and interest in our new boats which is a direct result of Scotland’s Boat Show bringing the product to the right market and we are already looking to increase the number of new boats on display for 2015”
Returning as a main sponsor, RYA Scotland hosted a full programme of activities both on and off the water including taster sessions for young sailors in special Clyde Muirshiel access dinghies and the chance to drive a powerful RIB with Seatrek Training.
Claire Caffrey, RYA marketing manager, said: “As one of the main sponsors of Scotland’s Boat Show, RYA Scotland were delighted to have supported another successful and busy boat show. We managed to get well over 100 people on the water on the Saturday and Sunday alone. The show is a fantastic opportunity for us to talk to our members and the Scottish sailing community face to face and is also the perfect platform from which to promote what RYA Scotland does. Hopefully lots of visitors to the show have gone home inspired to start or do more sailing in 2015.”
Also available via RYA Scotland was the unique opportunity of touring Round the World Clipper yachts ‘Old Pulteney’ and ‘Clyde Challenger’ which were being shown together for the first time in the UK.
Adding to the atmosphere on water were displays of Flyboarding from Mike Dear of WetJets.co.uk who introduced the crowds to the latest extreme water sport that lifts people up to 30 feet into the air on a jet of water.
On shore there was plenty to see and do with the latest marine equipment on display in the RYA Scotland Pavilion, luxury cars from Bentley, Maserati, McLaren and Morgan, the Clyde Life-Style Marquee which hosted dozens of artisan traders showing everything from candles to furniture, and a farmers' market with fresh and organic foods from local quality suppliers.
There was also the opportunity for visitors to explore Scottish family links in the Ancestry Research Centre presented by IBM with the aid of experts from the Renfrewshire Family History Society.
Completing the attractions ashore were a children’s play area, and high quality musical entertainment from the Isle of Cumbrae Pipe Band and Inverclyde Rock Choir, both of which attracted large crowds during their performances.
New as a partner for the show was the Inverclyde Living Marquee in which several local organisations showcased the many opportunities available for quality waterside living and working while taking advantage of the stunning views and unrivalled value for money house prices that Inverclyde can offer.
Again hugely popular this year, judging by the constant queues to take part, were the helicopter flights that took visitors high over Ardgowan Estate along the river and then gave a spectacular view of Kip Marina and the crowds.
The aerobatic display of the RAF Tutor Display Aircraft and the incredible skills of pilot Andy Preece as he performed a series of loops and spins over the marina in the single seat aircraft used to train the RAF’s fighter pilots was perhaps the highlight of the weekend.
Holt Leisure Group and Kip Marina’s managing director Gavin McDonagh said “We believe this year’s show was our biggest and best yet and, from the reaction of visitors and exhibitors alike, they seem to agree with us, particularly as 75 per cent of exhibitors have already enquired about returning next year. For 2015 we aim to continue the expansion of Scotland’s Boat Show and are delighted to bring thousands of visitors to see the best of Inverclyde."
David Pugh, editor of Practical Boat Owner, largest circulation marine magazine and website in the UK, said: "This was my second year representing Practical Boat Owner at Scotland's Boat Show and, once again, it was worth every minute spent and every mile getting here. For us it's not about selling magazines and subscriptions, although we did plenty of that as well,¬ but more about meeting readers in a different part of the British Isles and in an absolutely stunning sailing location. Kip hosts a great show, and I hope it continues to grow and provide a great destination for boaters from all over the UK."
Scotland’s Boat Show 2015 takes place on the 9, 10 and 11 October next year.