THE RECESSION-HIT boat industry is witnessing a recovery at this year’s PSP Southampton Boat Show.

Organisers claim sales of boats are healthier than the previous two years and a desire to buy has returned among seafaring enthusiasts after the economic slump.

Andrew Williams, managing director of the PSP Southampton Boat Show, said signs were encouraging, but added there was still further to go.

He said: “Generally we seem to have very good reports that good business is being done.

“There’s a real appetite from people coming down who have delayed a purchase for two years because of the economic times and are ready to make this purchase.”

Crowds at this year’s event, at Mayflower Park, have also been steadily better than last year.

By the end of Tuesday, 54,574 visitors had walked through the turnstiles, a one per cent increase on last year’s figure.

However, some days have seen bumper attendances, particularly Sunday with 15,185 people – 12 per cent up on 2009.

Visitors have so far enjoyed 9,000 glasses of Piper Heidseick champagne, 16,000 pints of Guinness and 5,000 ice creams.

Mr Williams said attendance was important, but more crucially a large percentage of those attending seemed to have come to buy rather than look around.

He said the last two years had been difficult in the boating industry, but that hopefully this signalled the worst had passed.

However, he added that sales had not yet recovered to the pre-recession levels of three years ago.

Another positive for this year’s show was an increased number of global vessel launches than in recent years.

Fourteen boats have made their world debut, four made their European debut and 40 their UK debut.

Mr Williams said the Boat Show itself continued to be a key event in the boating industry calendar and helped maintain Britain’s place as a leader in that industry.

“Manufacturers in the UK are global brands,” said Mr Williams.

“This show is one of their key assets, the key shop window to the world.

“The show is about growing the business by bringing customers into the market place.”