THE first Poole Harbour Boat Show attracted an estimated 15,000 people and received “universally positive” feedback, organisers say. The two-day event, with British Paralympic sailor Helena Lucas as guest of honour, took place at Poole Quay at the weekend. Jim Stewart, chief executive of Poole Harbour Commissioners, said the estimated 15,000 visitors was “a bit more than we had originally envisaged. We were delighted. It really exceeded all our expectations. The intention is to go ahead with another boat show some time in 2016. We will be doing a full review to see how we can improve it for next year. In 2017, Poole’s role as host of European Maritime Day would “take it to another level. We would like it to be an annual event", added Mr Stewart.
The free event featured on-the-water activities, live music and fireworks alongside the stalls and trade stands. Some stallholders had to send for more stock and charities did well. The show seemed to have struck a good balance between providing family entertainment and attracting people interested in buying marine producs.
“The feedback was that hopefully we got the balance about right. There will be a ‘wash-up' next week where we will be talking to all the exhibitors but over the weekend many of them said they’d be back next year. They can see it being a regular successful event in the marine circuit.”
Among the exhibitors were sponsor Coleman Insurance Brokers, whose team said they were asked for a number of marine quotes.
Tony Pauffley, yacht and commercial craft development at Coleman, said: “It is fantastic to have a local boat show on the edge of Poole Harbour. We are proud to have been one of the sponsors at this event and to have been involved in the organisation. The support that we have received from the marine industry as a whole has been superb and allowed the Poole Harbour Boat Show to be the success that it has been". He added: “Lots of us spend our lives working in and around the harbour. This weekend has been really good to show the public a part of our world.”