Despite the tail end of ‘Storm Callum’ sweeping the country, thousands of visitors headed to Scotland’s Boat Show 2018 (SBS18) as the largest Scottish and 2nd largest UK boat show returned to Kip Marina, Inverclyde over the October weekend, attracting visitors and exhibitors from across the UK, Ireland and even as far afield as Europe.

With a new expanded layout and more than 120 new and pre-owned boats on view to tempt all tastes and budgets, marine trade exhibitors and visitors alike declared SBS18 to be a storming success!

Broker Michael Schmidt & Partner’s Roseann Sweeney said, “With almost 400 viewings and many boats already under offer during the weekend we are amazed at the success of this year’s show given the conditions and, with many leads still to be followed up, we are hopeful this could be one of our most successful ever”.

On the new boat sales front, first time exhibitor Arcona Yachts’ Director Alasdair Marshall said, “With the demise of London Boat Show we wanted to see if a regional show would work for Arcona and so we made the journey to Scotland. We have had great numbers of people showing an interest in our boats and, because of this, we are looking forward to returning to SBS in 2019.”

Elsewhere SBS18’s marine trade exhibitors reported buoyant sales throughout the show and even though the high winds of storm Callum were blowing, the first reservations for trade stands at the 2019 show were confirmed on Friday afternoon by two companies who were at SBS18 for the first time!

As always, one of the most popular features of the show were the RYA Scotland hosted free taster sessions in yacht cruising, motor cruising and RIB driving. James Allan of RYA Scotland said. “We had a really successful three days at the show.  On-water activities were rightly cancelled on the Friday but despite this we still managed to fill nearly 150 on-water sessions over the weekend come rain or shine. Scotland’s Boat Show has become well established and provides RYA Scotland with a great opportunity to show people how accessible boating is through the training providers and clubs in Scotland, while our stand was well placed to offer advice and explain the benefits of RYA Membership. While our Gold Member Brunch and the Members’ Lounge at the Chartroom were particularly well received and offered us a fantastic opportunity to talk to our members face to face. We are already thinking ahead to next year!”

A welcome addition to SBS18 was the new Riverside Inverclyde pavilion which allowed marine and leisure exhibitors a large undercover area which was very popular with visitors, prompting Marine Blast’s Ian Hurrell to simply call SBS18 “Our best ever show!”

The Cruising Association presented three days of informative free lectures on the Sika Marine Stage on subjects ranging from ‘Sailing Around Britain’ to marine ecology, with the CA’s Stef Goodwin saying “The Cruising Association was pleased to host the programme of talks at this weekend’s Scotland Boat Show. Despite the weather, the varied presentations were very well attended and a popular part of the weekend. It was great to see all manner of boating enthusiasts enjoying the show and learning lots of tips and tricks from both industry professionals and like-minded cruisers!”

On shore visitors enjoyed more than 40 designer, art and craft stalls in the extended Clyde Life pavilion while next door the Scottish Food & Drink and Taste Inverclyde pavilions were a huge success and audiences enjoyed a series of entertaining cookery demonstrations from the hospitality students of West College Scotland as part of the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People.

Riverside Inverclyde’s Head of Business Investment, Andrew Bowman said, ““Congratulations to Scotland’s Boat Show on another exceptional event despite the difficult weather conditions during the build-up.  Scotland’s Boat Show further showcases Inverclyde’s ability to host large scale maritime events and attract a wide range of inwards investment into the area over the course of the show.

“The addition of Taste Inverclyde as a sponsor to this year’s food and drink offering provided local manufacturers the opportunity to promote their produce for free, further supporting the ongoing growth of the sector in Inverclyde.

“Riverside Inverclyde is proud to have been a title-sponsor of the show since 2016 to share the on-going regeneration projects across Inverclyde.  Ri’s involvement has supported the overall development and growth of Scotland’s Boat Show, whilst ensuring that the show remains a free-to-attend event.”

Adding to the mix over the show weekend were a line-up of Pipe Bands, Rock Choirs, and a host of other activities that had one visitor describe the show as an amazing showcase for Scottish boating and sailing.

Kip Marina MD Gavin McDonagh said “Once again, thanks to all the Kip staff who put together another very successful boat show, similarly thanks to our sponsors and partners RYA Scotland, West College Scotland, Riverside Inverclyde, Sika Marine, Cruising Association, Chelsea Magazines and The Herald. It was pleasing to note that despite the wild and varied weather everyone was still awash with sales!”

“We are again proud to be an ambassador for Inverclyde as a destination for visitors and exhibitors from all over the UK, and to promote Scotland’s world class boating & sailing facilities.”