ONE of the biggest events on Southampton’s calendar is just days away.

More than 100,000 visitors are expected as the PSP Southampton Boat Show returns on Friday for ten days of nautical excitement.

The 45th show will feature a host of different activities and events to enthral all generations, ranging from the purpose-built marina to a fleet of impressive feature boats.

Since it was founded, the show has become one of the city’s most popular events and last year attracted 110,000 people while providing a £12m boost to the regional economy.

It is now Europe’s biggest on-water show, and to keep pace with its enduring popularity organisers have planned a packed programme of activities and exhibitors.

Among the new items at this year’s event are the Interclub Team Racing Championship race on September 22, which will see two boats take to the water to race, and a display by members of the Wooden Boatbuilders’ Trade Association who will be giving daily demonstrations.

The feature boats are usually one of the most popular attractions at the shows, and this year’s line-up features the 1904 West Country Trading ship Bessie Ellen, research vessel Callista, the Global Ocean Race Boats and Phoenicia, a reconstruction of an ancient Phoenician trading vessel.

As ever there will be the stunning spectacle of the show’s purpose-built marina, which is one of Europe’s biggest.

Visitors will be able to see hundreds of yachts lined up at the marina’s purpose-built pontoons, while almost 100 vessels are set to make their boat show debuts this year.

The Try-A-Boat attraction will give boat enthusiasts of all abilities and experience the chance to get on the water on a number of different power and sail boats, while youngsters can get in on the action by trying Get Afloat.

The activity will allow eight to 16- year-olds to try out dinghy sailing or paddle boarding with qualified instructions. Try-A-Dive will be a chance for visitors to experience scuba diving, while Southampton-based charity Act!ve Nation will be hosting kayaking and water-zorbing sessions.