London Boat Show: Big Blue Has Something for Everyone Stuart Alexander Opens This Two Page Special Report on Boating at the 1999 London International Boat Show
Alexander, Stuart, The Independent (London, England)
THERE IS nothing like a dose of sunshine to brighten an otherwise bleak British Winter. This year's London International Boat Show is hoping to do just that. The show's theme of Big Blue (ocean), is all part of a scheme to raise the temperature of the estimated 200,000 visitors, organisers hope to attract to London's Earl's Court. The marine industry wants to entice new people into the game, showing off everything from gleaming power boats selling at close to pounds 2 million, right down to kits costing only a few hundred pounds.
It is also looking good for consumers. As well as being the biggest one- stop shop for all things boatey, clothes, equipment, electronics, and everything from a dinghy to a luxury cruiser, the show comes hard on the heels of two interest rate cuts, a strong pound making imports cheaper, and new European legislation giving extra protection.
The rather dull title of a Recreational Craft Directive conceals a new definition of stability for all coastal and offshore boats, which should be prominently displayed. The categories run from A to D, A though D is largely applicable to small boats and dinghies, and determine how a boat is likely to perform in the conditions for which it is being sold, A for ocean, B for offshore, C for Coastal. If you ever wanted to know why two 25-footers can be so different in price, check the stability grading is the one you need, check if the price includes VAT - all the attractive boards should prominently give the full, inclusive price - and you could even make sure that all the parts on the boat have the correct European certification mark. It is that first, apparently irresistible, price which can lure you into a tunnel in which it is difficult to turn round and back out. What has not yet come, though but is only a matter of time, is any form of Europe-wide licenses, either to use boats, or for the boats themselves. While many European countries do insist of both written and practical examinations, Britain maintains its voluntary system, though there are increasing signs of statutory regulation for jet- ski users. Which means there will be lots of stands offering to teach you all the ins and outs, at home and abroad, complete with certificates at the end, which are accepted by the other European countries. And the schemes extend to those with disabilities through the growing Sailability programme, once again driven by the RYA. Having bought your boat and learned a bit about how best to use it, you may also wish to park it. This logical desire used to be a real nightmare and there are still many areas of the country where there are very long waiting lists for low cost, publicly administered moorings. One of the largest operators of marinas, with 5,500 berths nationwide, is MDL. Their marketing director Jeff Houlgrave expects prices to rise by about 6 per cent. in 1999, so an average 30- footer could cost just under pounds 2,000 to keep in Plymouth and about double that on their most expensive marina in the Hamble River, close to the …
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Publication information: Article title: London Boat Show: Big Blue Has Something for Everyone Stuart Alexander Opens This Two Page Special Report on Boating at the 1999 London International Boat Show. Contributors: Alexander, Stuart - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: January 7, 1999. Page number: 20. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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