Reviving London’s Boat Show

Good to see the London Boat Show has a new logo.  For me, the old one with its Eastenders-inspired graphic of the Thames didn’t exactly capture what boating is all about.

Which got me thinking, what other messages are our boat shows sending out to prospective newcomers to boating, either through their marketing communications or at the shows themselves?  Are they inviting, compelling, exciting, inspiring?

Is the advertising image of a mass of boats racing across the water the sort of thing that attracts people to boating?  Are air-sea rescue demonstrations or a display of the after-effects of an onboard gas explosion a good idea when Dad is working hard to convince Mum that boating might be a fun and safe pastime for the family?  And what of the TV coverage?  Has the historic focus on the biggest, the most bizarre, the most expensive and the most extreme perhaps done more harm then good, fuelling the myth that boating is an elitist pastime for the rich?

Raising participation in boating – at every level – relies on getting more people started.  Most boaters start in cheap, used, small boats, or on boating holidays, or at clubs or sailing schools.

If boat shows could somehow make more of those, we might all look forward to a bigger boating population and more customers for the whole industry in years to come.