The 2019 edition of the London Boat Show has been cancelled by British Marine because of a lack of support

The London Boat Show 2019, which was due to take place at ExCeL London in January, has been cancelled.

Organisers British Marine cited a lack of support from members of the marine industry for the decision.

It said many exhibitors were unhappy with the event’s current format, duration and location.

The show moved from Earls Court to ExCel in 2004, but after initial interest, the number of exhibitors and visitor numbers began to fall year on year.

In 2018, the event moved to a five-day rather than a 10-day format to boost interest.

At the time, the CEO of British Marine, Howard Pridding, described the changes as ‘a success’, saying the new five-day show had attracted ‘more new and first-time exhibitors than ever before’ and had resulted in an average of 10,000 visitors a day.

‘We’ve enjoyed more concentrated crowds of visitors at the show than we’ve experienced for many years, particularly on the very busy Saturday,’ he said following the 2018 event.

The tide, however, seems to now have turned for the London Boat Show.

Commenting on yesterday’s announcement, the president of British Marine, David Pougher, said: ‘The decision to put the London Boat Show on hold is naturally very disappointing for the British marine industry, but British Marine and its Board of Directors has a responsibility to its members and we cannot commit to running a show which is clearly forecasted in its current format to be commercially unviable and will not meet customer satisfaction levels.’

He said the organisation would now be focusing on the Southampton Boat Show, which gets underway in September

‘By contrast the Southampton Boat Show produces a positive contribution to the industry, is well supported by exhibitors and visitors alike and is a highly successful event and we are now able to put all our energy, expertise and enthusiasm into this event,’ added the president.

The Cruising Association (CA) described the decision as ‘a sad, but many would say inevitable, conclusion’, and said it would come as a ‘major blow’ for many East Coast companies which ‘considered the London Boat Show as “their” show.’

Continues below…

It has raised concerns that the decision now ‘reduces the opportunity for face to face recruitment’, and added that the CA Council would have to make some important decisions about the future timing of its own events and activities, such as theMed and Baltic parties and Flag Officers’ Lunch, which usually coincided with the show.

The general manager of the CA, Lucy Gray commented “Whatever decisions the CA Council makes in response to this announcement will be made after full consultation and in the best interests of all those affected.’

‘In the meantime, we will focus our efforts and resources on the Southampton Boat Show with a brand new stand and plenty of exciting on-stand activity, membership offers and member discounts,’ she added.