ONE of the first in-person boat shows to be held since the start of the pandemic has been hailed a success.

The South Coast Boat Show saw nearly 700 appointments booked by 500 serious buyers over three days, organisers say.

More than 50 brands were on display in the water at MDL’s Ocean Village marina, while the land-based exhibition showcased smaller boats and supporting services such as ancillary gear, finance and insurance.

Boat shows to return to Southampton after 2020 cancellation

Al Wood from exhibitor Multihull Solutions said: “The South Coast Boat Show has been a great start to the 2021 boat show season.

“Our appointments were fully-booked throughout, allowing us to showcase Dragonfly trimarans in a relaxed and exclusive environment.

“While online resources are invaluable, there’s no substitute for spending time onboard.

“The show has been a great success for us, with a contract signed plus a number of new clients eagerly anticipating exhilarating trial sails.

“We look forward to returning next year.”

The first South Coast Boat Show was held at the same venue in 2019 but the second had to be cancelled because of the worsening pandemic.

Ancasta International Boat Sales’ marketing director, Will Blair, said: “It was great to be able to get customers physically back onto boats again after so many months with no boat shows.

“The process to ensure visitors and staff were kept safe worked well and overall it was a successful weekend.

“The format of the South Coast Boat Show is one that is here to stay, focusing on buyers who appreciate the time and space to really explore their new yachts without queues and distractions.”

Tim Mayer, director of sales and marketing for show organiser MDL Marinas, said: “We worked closely with local stakeholders to ensure that the show could go ahead in a safe and secure manner.

“The event taking place, and it’s success, is a big boost to the leisure marine industry and will give confidence to marine companies and the general public that other shows and events planned for later in the year will also be successful.”

The show was sponsored by Raymarine, Towergate Insurance and Inspiration Marine.