Messing About in Boats!

The London Boat Show in January proved to be an entertaining day out for GTO readers. Val Baynton reports back.

There is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats,’ said Ratty in Wind in the Willows, and such was the charm of the readers’ day at the London Boat Show, courtesy of British Marine on 7th January.

Michael Enser who’d arranged our visit welcomed myself and the group of 20 GTOs and guests over coffee and pastries in ExCeL’s media centre. He explained that it was the 63rd time the show had been held in London and the move to ExCeL, a few years ago, enabled bigger boats to be displayed. With around 315 exhibitors and 270 boats there was lots for us all to see and experience. Michael encouraged us to go on board the boats to try them out for size and told us that throughout the day a full programme of activity in the theatre including quizzes, a fashion show and question and answer sessions with sporting celebrities would be fun to watch.

We could visit the show at our own pace and we were able to return to the media centre throughout the day for hot drinks and to eat our picnic lunch. This was much appreciated by the group.

“Thank you for the tickets to the Boat Show, it is the first time I have visited it and I found it very interesting and enjoyable..”
Sylvia, Over 50s Group, London

“My friend and I were delighted to find that we could climb on board super yachts (it might be the only chance we get), speak to the RNLI about their important work and see celebrity guests pitting their wits against each other in a quiz. The quiz action rounds – a race to don a life jacket and to dance the hornpipe were very entertaining. We weren’t brave enough to try the kayaking or the boat races but they were fun to watch. We spent about four hours walking around ExCeL in this most enjoyable day out.”
Anne, Sports and Social Associaton, London

There was plenty to discover from the most luxurious ships and yachts to small sailing ships and canoes with every size between on show, as well as equipment suppliers, and clothing and gift retailers. The Dream Lodge Marina and Boating Lake profiled a range of watersports during the day including kayak and paddleboarding. Activity specialist companies were on hand to advise about holidays, especially those for youth and student groups. Meanwhile, other ideas for group breaks were available on a variety of stands including the Norfolk Broads based Richardsons Boating Holidays – where their newest inland cruiser, the Monaco was on display.

The fashion show was high energy indeed, and the talented dancers modelled clothing to suit weather conditions from a sultry midsummer’s day to blustery rain storms.

“Thank you for the chance to experience this iconic event in the London calendar. Having a private suite to meet, enjoy refreshments and use the cloakroom facilities was a welcome bonus. We had a most enjoyable day from having the privilege of seeing super yachts at close quarters to meeting sailing company representatives and training organisations.”.”
John, Secretary, Local History Society

The Southampton Boat Show – 15th-24th September 2017

The Southampton Boat Show takes place from 15th to 24th September and the London Boat Show will run from 5th to 14th January 2018. The Boat Show gives your group the chance to ‘live the dream’ on board a super yacht as well as gaining a great insight into the world of boating.

For more information visit or