Boatlife 2024 maintains year-on-year attendance

Boatlife 2024

Organisers of the Boatlife 2024 boat show in Birmingham, UK, say they are pleased with a series of successful sales across the four-day event, which saw attendance figures closely mirroring those of last year’s show.

The second edition of Boatlife in 2023 welcomed 14,000 visitors over four days. Organisers are keen to highlight that the show, which held its third edition from 15-18 February 2024, is now solidifying its position as an important sales show for the UK boating community despite current market challenges — highlighted by the coinciding Camping & Caravan Show, which did not sell out as usual this year.

One of the most significant news stories came from Lakeland Leisure, which carried out sales for two narrowboats on the very first day of the show. The pool, beach and bar area were a hub of activity throughout the show, which showcases not only boats but also equipment, holiday packages and products.

Boatlife 2024

“It was great to watch Boatlife’s third edition come to life and run so smoothly,” says Richard Dove, director of organiser Boatlife Events Ltd. “Exhibitors went all out with their displays, and it was wonderful to welcome both new and returning companies. Despite the current climate, the industry remains encouraged by the steady flow of sales from the right type of buyers.”

James Tonks of headline sponsors Suzuki, adds: “Boatlife has been fantastic. We have a number of dealers here, and the great news is they’ve made sales and enjoyed working with quality customers. We are very happy all round.”

One of the highlights of the show was the presentation of the YJA Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA Young Sailor of the Year for 2023. Lawrie Smith was awarded Yachtsman of the Year by the YJA. Alongside him, Jess Powell and Ben Greenhalgh emerged as joint winners of the Young Sailor of the Year award.

YJA Winners

Other highlights recognised an array of achievements in the marine industry, such as the new Best of Boatlife Awards, voted for by the public. Technical Marine Supplies clinched the title of Best Interactive Stand, while the category of Best Inland Boat went to the Balt 818 from Bray Marine Sales Ltd.

Wills Marine’s Nordkapp Airborne 8 took home the prize for Best RIB, and Best Adventure Boat was claimed by XO Boats for its DFNDR model.

“The clientele has been spot on with people coming who are actively looking to buy a boat, and people that have seen the brand before,” an XO Boats representative says in a statement. “Next year, we’re going to be looking at bringing the XO DFNDR A8 fishing model to the Boat Show for 2025.”

Ben Stevens of RBS Marine, adds: “Showing the Bass Pro Tracker Boats has proved great and we sold the 18 model on [the] Friday, which was impressive,” says Ben Stevens RBS Marine. “New brands always take time to be seen, known about and understood, so Boatlife is a great way to showcase them.”

Boatlife 2024

The Angling Zone was buzzing, notably with the highly anticipated announcement of the inaugural Boatlife Fishing Tournament. Interactive activities such as the Shimano Fishing Simulator drew continuous crowds. In total, approximately 800 people, including disabled anglers, participated over four days.

Similarly, immersive experiences in the GJW Activity Pool run by Rockley saw more than 220 people take to the water for some entertaining have-a-go sessions.

The dates for the next Boatlife show are 13-16 February 2025.

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