Organiser James Brooke explains how he hopes to beat the credit crunch

This Wednesday the Earls Court Boat Show opens and, according to its organisers, it provides an opportunity for both consumers and exhibitors to overcome the credit crunch and help keep the marine business healthy.

This year’s theme focuses on affordability; a necessity in the current economic climate according to Managing Director James Brooke who says it has “positioned exhibitors in a new landscape”.

Brooke said that as well as the core boating audience, the show hopes to appeal to a new breed of boaters: “We’ve got lots of small stands, with lots of boats without the need for hundreds of thousands of pounds. This saving ultimately goes back to the consumer, making water-sports affordable.”

Despite reports of low visitor attendance in 2007, Brooke says that this facilitated the show’s success as “the relaxed atmosphere actually created a buying friendly environment.” He cites the case of yacht manufacturer Southerly, which reportedly sold an impressive 12 yachts, but this achievement was unrecognised as Mr Brooke admits that “it was our fault for not communicating what actually happened”.

The 2008 exhibition is fully booked with over 300 exhibitors, ranging from the European launch of the Grand Soleil to Aladdin’s Cave. Standing centre stage is the boat pool holding over 2 million gallons of water, created from Earls Courts’ ability to lower its main floor using a Victorian winch system, originally used as a swimming pool.

As more boats arrive everyday by lorry and crane, the show’s unique concept providing an affordable watersports lifestyle hope to bring in a unique audience and set it apart from the competition.

The Sail, Power and Watersports show runs from 26 to 30 November at Earls Court, London.