BUSINESSES around Hampshire are set to sail into Southampton Boat Show later this week.

As preparations continue ahead of the opening this Friday, 144 marine businesses from Hampshire will be heading to the festival of boating, which runs until September 24.

The companies will join almost 600 fellow marine brands on display, from boating accessories and sailing wear to boating holidays and luxury yachts.

New exhibitors for 2017, Southampton Water Activities Centre and Gemini Ribs will feature, with marine electronics and gadget businesses using the show to unveil the unseen products.

The show is set to be opened by former Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh, who will open the Mayflower Park centrepiece on Friday.

Stars such as 110 metre hurdles champion and world record holder Colin Jackson CBE and motorsport presenter Suzi Perry will descend on the festival in its 49th year.

Murray Ellis, chief officer of boat shows as British Marine said: “We are privileged to have such an ideal location to get people on the water and on average 10,000 visitors go boating or trial watersports across the ten days of the show.”

Organisers say they are aiming to get as many people as possible out on the water to experience the event.

New attractions will include the show’s own passenger boat, the Ocean Scene Mini Cruise and the Paddle River Experience.

Murray added: “This year we want to get more of our visitors enjoying on the water experiences.

“This means more variety, more accessibility and more capacity, which we are planning to deliver at this year’s event.

“We are determined to see record numbers enjoying life on the water with family and friends at this year’s show.”

The show will also play host to hundreds of boating debuts, including a number from local marine firms, Inspiration Marine, Saffier Yachts and Discovery Yachts.

On top of the Hampshire businesses attending, the event will see more than 20 world, European and UK show launches.