From the biggest boat on show to the World Record for the 'largest human image of a boat’, find out some weird and wonderful facts about the Southampton Boat Show, which takes place 15-24 September


1. The first Southampton Boat Show was held in 1969 and was launched by Norman Kemish and Arthur Gale.

Southampton Boat Show in 1975


2. Since 1997, the Boat Show has been a ten-day event, after the passing of the Southampton International Boat Show Act 1997. A Local Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was an amendment to the Hampshire Act 1983 that allows Mayflower Park to close for 10 days instead of nine during the Southampton Boat Show.

UK parliament at night


3. The Southampton Boat Show welcomes over 600 exhibiting brands covering every aspect of the leisure marine industry from boat builders, sail makers, chandlers and engine manufacturers to marine finance, clothing specialists, navigation equipment.

Southampton Boat Show 2015


4. The marina alone showcases over 330 boats, from historic tall ships and superyachts to the latest tender and Cornish Crabber.

tall ship on water


5. The Show’s marina is the largest purpose built marina in Europe covering 50,687sqm and with over 2km of pontoons, it takes ten weeks to build with construction starting in July.

People walking among the boats at the Southampton Boat Show


6. The 2005 event featured a makeshift beach, with tonnes of sand being imported to the Show to create the feature.

7. At Southampton Boat Show 2014 year a 30 metre high big wheel was installed – something that had never been done before.

8. On average, the Show get over 10,000 people on the water throughout the 10 days.

A man looking at a boat at a show


9. The Show waters has become the dedicated home for the annual elite Battle of the Classes Pursuit Race, as well as the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship Final.

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10. For the first time, Southampton Boat Show 2017 will feature the Show’s very own passenger boat, making two sails every hour on the days it is at the Show.

11. For the last 10 years, the Show has been welcoming school children through its dedicated Careers Week programme.

girl and three man standing by a sign


12. In 2015, the Show drew in the crowds with a performance from the iconic RAF Red Arrows above the Show’s marina and waters.

13. The biggest boat at this year’s Show will be the Princess 30M, measuring over 99ft.

blue and white yacht on water


14. The 2016 Show held the World Record for the ‘largest human image of a boat’.

people wearing red and blue making a boat shape


15. Southampton Boat Show 2017 offers eight different opportunities for visitors to get out on the water – Try-a-Boat, Get Afloat, Paddle River Experience and the Ocean Scene Mini Cruise are all free experiences, Bumper Boats and Adventure River Canoe Ride are both just for the young ones and the VIP Platinum Experience and Global Challenge Sailing Experience are both premium experiences.

children on a bumper boat


16. The official Show opening ceremony has taken various formats over the years. The original Southampton Boat Show was opened by the City Mayor and Alderman Kathy Johnson. In 2011 the Show was opened by a spectacular marching display by the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards Corps of Drums and in 2016, the Show was opened by the record-break Rio Team GB alongside British actress Michelle Keegan.

Michelle Keegan standing in a boat


17. The Show has hosted various celebrity appearances over the years – from sailing stars including Dame Ellen MacArthur, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Sir Ben Ainslie and the crew of Tracy Edwards’ ‘Maiden’ to famous faces including star magician Paul Daniels, model David Gandy, TV star Michelle Keegan and F1 pundit Eddie Jordan.


18. The biggest ever feature boat to appear at the Show is the HMS Dauntless, measuring 153m in length. It was displayed at the 2010 Show.

ship on water


19. In previous years, the Show has hosted its own ‘Miss Southampton Boat Show’ pageant. Starting in 2005, the annual competition ran for 4 years.

20. Every year the Show welcomes over 100 boats making either their World, European, UK or Show debut.

image of yacht from below


YBW was launched at the Southampton Boat Show in 1997. Come and wish us happy birthday at stand E001.