Shock cancellation of OVBS & Boats2020

Ocean Village Boat Show cancels Friday 11 Sept as Boats2020 cancels whole show.

In a surprise last minute decision, both Ocean Village Boat Show and Boats2020 have been forced to cancel by Southampton City Council (SCC).

MIN contacted SCC Thursday morning, after both shows reported that they were going ahead, to ask for a statement, expecting a platitude about the city looking forward to hosting both ‘designed to be covid-secure’ events.

None was forthcoming and MIN now understands that the council has told both they can’t proceed. Official word on why the shows have been cancelled is still awaited.

In a statement, MDL said it has taken the decision to cancel Friday and it is working with the council to see what the future opportunities are.

“This is very disappointing for the industry,” says Tim Mayer, sales and marketing director MDL (organisers of OVBS), ‘“for both Ocean Village Boat Show and Boats2020 who we understand are in the same position. We don’t agree with the decision. We understand that the council is worried about an influx of visitors, however, both shows have been very careful with the arrangements and for controlling visitor numbers.

“As you know, we have from the outset strived to develop a show that offers visitors an appointment-only, controlled and safe show –  specifically designed for serious buyers – so we are devastated by this last minute decision.

“As we have done over many weeks, we are working with Southampton City Council’s events advisory committee to establish if we can open the show later in the week.  But we wanted to let you know that the show will not open tomorrow,  and we ask our booked customers not to come to Ocean Village.

“We are naturally very disappointed for all of our exhibitors, and visitors, who have all made significant investments into the show – whether to bring wonderful power and sail boats, or to travel to the city to look at a boat.”

British Marine’s statement reads:

At 6.34pm on Thursday 10 September, on the eve of opening day, British Marine received the devastating news from Southampton City Council that the show could no longer go ahead due to the rising risk of Covid-19 and growing Government fears.

The show, due to take place from 11-20 September 2020, was set to open on Friday following extensive work in collaboration with Southampton City Council to ensure that the existing Public Health England Covid-19 secure requirements were met.

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, says: “We are desperately disappointed that Boats2020 will no longer be taking place, especially receiving the news at the eleventh hour before opening. A tremendous amount of work has been put in and it was heartening to see committed exhibitors on- site today getting geared up for opening.

“British Marine has remained committed to staging this not-for-profit boat show to support the leisure marine industry and our host city of Southampton, and I am deeply saddened that it will now no longer be taking place. Alongside our exhibitors, we were ready to open a show that exceeded all safety requirements. We are truly perplexed as to why we are unable to run the show at least until Monday in line with the government restrictions imposed yesterday. The global pandemic and unprecedented times mean that the latest circumstances are beyond our control. Public health and safety come first and naturally, as the show organiser, British Marine must comply with all guidance.”

3 responses to “Shock cancellation of OVBS & Boats2020”

  1. Ric Morgan says:

    This is a huge shame but it was
    Almost obvious
    A case of wishing well rather than …well
    Thinking well
    Everyone should except the new norm and plan for the future only when.the future is Covid free
    This is a pandemic and will not be over till
    They find a vaccine

    My sympathies to everyone involved
    Ric Morgan

  2. Douglas Elliott says:

    I realise we are living in difficult times, but to cancel at the last minute is a huge disappointment and a financial blow to the exhibitors, many of whom will have stretched themselves financially to be there. This is the last thing the marine industry needs right now, it could even bankrupt some of the exhibitors, I hope it doesn’t, but it’s certainly a possibility. Who is going to recompense them for the financial loss?

  3. Jonathan Leach says:

    Southampton has always been a poor location for the show, and the Labour driven council have always been difficult. Now is the time to decamp to Portsmouth, with much more space, large open harbour, easy parking, and easy access by car, ferry and train.