It is the first major event in the marine leisure calendar.

And scores of Hampshire firms did their bit to make sure the Tullet Prebon London Boat Show opened with a bang.

Following the success of the PSP Southampton Boat Show in September, around 100 companies from across the county set up stalls at the ExCeL centre on Saturday, at the start of the nine-day boating extravaganza.

The 59th annual event, which features everything from speedboats to dinghies, boat paint to hot tubs, was opened in a blaze of glory as a marching band paraded down the boulevard.

And when the eagerly awaited show finally opened its doors, it was Poole-based super-yacht manufacturer Sunseeker that took centre stage once again.

BBC presenter Suzi Perry, Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans and singer Alfie Boe were on hand to officially launch the firm’s two new models, the Predator 68 and San Remo.

They were just two of the 11 spectacular Sunseeker yachts that will be on display throughout the show.

Hampshire's record-breaking yachtsman Sir Ben Ainslie also attracted a crowd, as he unveiled his new America’s Cup support boat.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist proudly revealed the new model, which has been built by Lymington-based firm Scorpion.

Sir Ben then held a question and answer session with some of the show’s visitors, ahead of the launch of his new Henri Lloyd clothing collection.

Murray Ellis, managing director of National Boat Shows, hailed the opening day of the Tullet Prebon London Boat Show as a “success”.

He said that he was “very proud” of London’s sister show, the PSP Southampton Boat Show, but emphasised the importance of the London event as the first in the marine calendar.

He said: “Here at the Tullet Prebon we are at the start of year for visitors who might be thinking about getting into boating, so we get a real injection into the industry to build us up for the season ahead.”

The show, which is open until January 20, sees 500 firms showing off their marine equipment.