Southampton Boat Shows Canceled On The Eve Of Opening

Concurrent boat shows in Southampton U.K. have been called off Thursday on the eve of opening day over Southampton City Council’d coronavirus fears, organizers said.

Organizers of BOATS2020 and the Ocean Village Boat Show expressed dismay as they announced the cancellations less than a day before Friday’s scheduled opening. 

“At 6:34 p.m. on Thursday, September 10, on the eve of opening day, British Marine received the devastating news from Southampton City Council that the show could no longer go ahead due to the rising risk of COVID-19 and growing Government fears,” said the organizers of BOATS2020, which was set to take place alongside the Ocean Village Boat Show from September 11-20.

Separately, MDL Marinas said it is “disappointed to announce that it’s been told by Southampton City Council that the Ocean Village Boat Show cannot proceed as planned.”

“The company has, from the outset, strived to develop a show that offers visitors an appointment-only, controlled and safe show—specifically designed for serious buyers,” MDL Marinas said. “This last-minute decision is devastating.”

“As we have done over many weeks, we are working with Southampton City Council’s events advisory committee to establish if we can open the show later in the week,” said Tim Mayer, sales and marketing director.  “But we wanted to let you know that the show will not open tomorrow (Friday), and we ask our booked customers not to come to Ocean Village.

“We are naturally very disappointed for all of our exhibitors, and visitors, who have all made significant investments into the show—whether to bring wonderful power and sail boats, or to travel to the city to look at a boat,” Mayer continued. “If we are able to open our show later this week, we will contact those who have previously booked to let them know what happens next however your broker may well contact you to rearrange your appointment.”

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, said, “We are desperately disappointed that BOATS2020 will no longer be taking place, especially receiving the news at the eleventh hour before opening. A tremendous amount of work has been put in and it was heartening to see committed exhibitors on-site today getting geared up for opening.”

British Marine’s said it worked extensively with Southampton City Council to ensure that the existing Public Health England COVID-19 secure requirements were met.

“British Marine has remained committed to staging this not-for-profit boat show to support the leisure marine industry and our host city of Southampton, and I am deeply saddened that it will now no longer be taking place,” Robinson said. “Alongside our exhibitors, we were ready to open a show that exceeded all safety requirements. We are truly perplexed as to why we are unable to run the show at least until Monday in line with the government restrictions imposed yesterday. The global pandemic and unprecedented times mean that the latest circumstances are beyond our control. Public health and safety come first and naturally, as the show organizer, British Marine must comply with all guidance.”

British Marine said it will be communicating with exhibitors, ticket holders and further stakeholders, and would like to thank all of them for continuing to support the event in these uncertain times.

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