After a tough first half of the year, British boatbuilders are now enjoying a surge in orders as the UK economy grows and overseas markets strengthen

Broom Boats sold 25 new motoryachts in 2013

The message from the UK’s leisure and commercial boat builders is almost unanimous. The majority of 2013 was as tough as ever, but following the well attended PSP Southampton Boat Show in September, and official reports of sustained growth in the domestic economy, the buyers are back.

Exports have also been increasing, with many builders enjoying renewed success overseas. The long-established US market is increasingly buying British-built products again, and new markets in China and Brazil, along with strengthening demand from Turkey and Russia, is all putting a positive spin on sales. However, during our research we were constantly reminded that the UK’s OEMs aren’t clear of the global storm yet, but it’s fair to say that a lot more sunshine is streaming through the clouds.

Inward investment, too, has been strong, despite fears of a UK double-dip recession towards the end of 2012. Undeterred, many builders have poured millions of pounds into building new infrastructure, improving production methods, and rolling out new models. New companies such as Wylo, English Harbour, and Gunfleet Yachts have all managed to launch successfully in the middle of the downturn.

Such bold investment, helped by historically low interest rates and regional government support, has placed UK builders in a very strong position as markets recover.

Note: This is an excerpt of the UK overview & Boatbuilders report featured in IBI magazine issue 397 (December/January). IBI Plus subscriber can visit and download the full report.