Despite a slight dip in visitor attendance, this year's Southampton Boat Show saw a record number of visitors on the water and “incredible” sales results from exhibitors. Show organiser British Marine Boat Shows said many companies recorded year-on-year increased sales and enquiry leads from the start.

The UK’s Discovery Yachts Group, for instance, finished the show with confirmed orders of £3m and estimated orders of £3.5m-£4m. “We’ve sold boats across all ranges – Discovery Yachts, Southerly Yachts and Bluewater Yachts – to a range of global buyers,” says Sean Langdon, Discovery MD.

Kiran Haslam from Princess Yachts said it was a record show for the UK builder. “On Friday (22 September), we had exceeded every previous year whilst the first Saturday (16 September) was the single highest sales day in history at any show,” he says.

Held from September 15-24 at Southampon's Mayflower Park, the 10-day event attracted more than 106,000 visitors. This compares to around 109,000 in 2016.

But new attractions persuaded close to 15,000 people to get out on the water – an increase of 50% on previous years, with many experiencing boating for the first time. With hundreds of boats lined up along Europe’s largest purpose-built marina, visitors were able to hop on and off a range of vessels of all sizes.

The show welcomed close to 500 exhibitors and almost 20% of those were new to the show. There were 35 world, 12 European, 70 UK and 39 show debuts.

During the event, Seaward held the world debut of its Nelson 39 motoryacht. “We’ve seen much stronger enquiries from this year’s show compared to last and are looking forward to returning in 2018,” says Seaward’s Chris Clayton.

Murray Ellis, chief officer of British Marine Boat Shows, said that thousands of visitors were able to get out on the water, many for the first time. “There has also been some incredible business done over the course of the show, with one of our larger exhibitors recording the best sales day at any show they’ve exhibited at globally.”

Richard Roberts, CEO of, adds: “The show has exceeded our expectations and has given a superb platform to both secure our position in the UK and look to new markets overseas like Europe and the USA. We are currently examining the precise figures but suffice to say our brand awareness in our target markets together with actual sales and visits to the website have risen considerably.”

Next year’s show, which runs from September 14-23, will celebrate its 50th edition.