Britain’s biggest boat show returns to Mayflower Park next month – we pick out the stands worth paying a visit

The Southampton Boat Show has been a staple of the British boating calendar for five decades, but for the uninitiated it can be easy to get lost among the hundreds of stands and exhibits.

As usual, there are several new boats being launched this year and plenty of on-water taster sessions, but the Show is also an excellent place to seek out advice and discuss technicalities with experts in their fields. Here’s our guide to the best stands to seek out at the 2019 show:

Electronics at Southampton Boat Show

Southampton Boat Show is by far the best place for anyone considering updating or replacing electronics, to compare products and seek technical advice about networking new equipment into an existing system.

Raymarine (stand J385) has an updated range of budget MFDs in 7, 9 and 12-inch sizes, with prices starting at just £454. The Element S range uses a slimmed down operating system, dubbed Lighthouse Sport, which simplifies menus for quicker and easier operation. It lacks the touchscreen of the more expensive Axiom models and is controlled instead by hard buttons that can be used in all weathers.

The company also has an upgraded operating system – Lighthouse 3.10 Bermuda – on its fully-featured Axiom MFDs. Key features have been expanded to include direct support for PredictWind’s weather forecasting and routing apps.

B&G (stand J372) will be showcasing the new V60-B fixed VHF with a built-in AIS transponder, along with Vulcan 7, 9 and 12-inch chart plotters. Features to make sailing more efficient include laylines, historic graphs of wind strength and direction, and calculated tide.


Garmin (stand J382) will have its latest high-end GPSMAP 8400/8400xsv series MFDs. Benefits include improved screen clarity, especially in strong sunlight, greater processing power, and a better interface that minimises the amount of tedious drilling down into menus. Garmin has also updated its BlueChart G3 and BlueChart G3 Vision charts. Anglers will be interested in Garmin’s new ECHOMAP Ultra 10 and 12-inch chartplotters/ fishfinders, which can be interfaced with the company’s Panoptix Livescope to show live sonar images of the seabed, bait and fish swimming around the boat.

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Cruising Advice and prizes on offer

The Cruising Association (Stand J412) has an enviable body of information, totalling more than 20,000 pages available to members. In addition, the association provides regulatory and technical advice, as well as providing a network of Honorary Local Representatives in ports around the world whose role is to help visiting association members solve problems.

Membership costs a modest annual fee and those who sign up at the show will be entered in a daily draw to win a year’s subscription to the Navionics App, worth £37.95. Additional draws that will be launched at the show include one for a £2,000 Ocean Safety liferaft, £2,500 south coast charter with Fairview Sailing, and a £510 suit of Gill OS2 foul weather gear.

ASAP Marine: Technical brands galore

ASAP (Stand J297) is a marine supplier and distributor stocking a huge range of technical products across 20 categories for maintaining, repairing and updating boats of every description. Key brand names include Racor, Jabsco, Victron, Scanstrut, Hella, Seaflow, General Ecology, Roca and Centek.

This year ASAP has a revamped its 9.5m by 3m stand run by its technical sales staff. If you have questions about onboard systems, particularly water, fuel, toilets, electrics and lighting systems, this is the place to ask.

While ASAP doesn’t normally sell physical products at boat shows, this year it will have two high-specification General Ecology water filter cartridges for sale at discounted prices.
The Nature Pure Ultra Fine Element is reduced from £91.90 to £79.99.

The RS-1SG Element for Seagull IV X-1 Water Purifiers, has an ultra-fine 0.4 micron mesh that removes bacteria, cysts and viruses, as well as contaminants such as herbicides, pesticides and chlorine.
The replacement cartridges are on sale at the show stand for £99.99, representing a tempting £17 discount.

Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs)

Over the past few years stand-up paddleboards have become a useful part of the equipment on many cruising yachts. The smallest models weigh only 6kg and pack down into a compact back pack, so they are easy to stow and quick to inflate. They can even be used as an alternative to a tender. Prices start at just £315 and there’s a big selection at the show this year, including the new Two Bare Feet Aerostar 10.0, which is a relatively short 10ft board shaped to have good stability. Find it on stand B003.

Sustainable teak alternative

Lignia Yacht, which is distributed in the UK by Robbins Timber (Stand J404), is a new alternative to teak decks that equals or exceeds the properties of traditional Burmese teak for this purpose. It’s made of FSC certified softwood sourced from sustainably managed forests that’s treated with a resin-based process that significantly improves resistance to decay and is offered with a 50-year warranty. The resin also creates a colour similar to freshly scrubbed teak.

See for yourself: the stunning new Spirit 50CR at berth M347 in the marina is the first boat the Ipswich-based builder of modern classics has fitted with a Lignia deck, but the company now plans to use the material for all future orders.

Lee Sanitation

This company may be based deep in the Midlands, among Warwickshire’s canals, but has more knowledge of marine plumbing – and stocks a wider range of marine parts – than any other. These are the people to ask a wide range of questions, from curing smelly toilets to fitting a holding tank.

Boat repair advice

Anyone with a forthcoming boat repair project, however large or small, can get advice from Wessex Resins and Adhesives. Many of the company’s staff have a boatbuilding background and first-hand experience of how to choose and use the products for different applications. The company will also have its latest Entropy Resins, a new range of plant-based epoxy resins made from co-products or waste products from other industrial processes, on show.

Entropy Resins start from £54.12 for a 1.5lt pack.

Electric propulsion

Torqeedo has recently developed an uprated version of the popular 1103 Travel Motor (pictured) which is almost silent, even when run out of the water, and has run time of up to 20 hours.

Competing for market share is relative newcomer E-propulsion, with a range of submersible 1kW (equivalent to a 3hp outboard) drives that are ideal for powering daysailers of up to 20ft via a dedicated lithium battery.

Prices: Torqeedo 1103 Travel Motor £1,869

1kW E-propulsion Spirit, from £1,529

About the show

The 2019 Southampton Boat Show powered by Borrow A Boat runs from September 13-22, with gates opening at 0930 and closing at 1830 (1800 on September 22).

Tickets are available to buy online now, with prices starting at £16.50 for an adult weekday ticket and £13.50 for concessions (children under 15 and dogs go free). Weekend tickets are £21, or you can get an any day ticket for £22.

Alternatively, if you want to really get the most out of the show, you can buy a two-day ticket for £30 and make sure you see everything.