The new extension of ExCeL has been finished - and should add some sparkle to the boat show

Motor Boat & Yachting was this morning given an exclusive tour of the new eastward extension of the ExCeL exhibition centre, home of the London Boat Show.

From 2011, the bulk of the show will be housed in the new extension, photos of which you can see in our gallery.

The extra room will allow organisers to add features like a vast 71m by 24m pool, which will be the first thing visitors see as they enter through the new eastern entrance.

The pool will feature watersports and other on-water entertainment, and will have seating for 700-800 people.

Another exciting addition is the sunken hall on the south side. The greater headroom in this area will allow yachts to keep their masts up.

National Boat Shows (NBS), which organises the main London and Southampton boat shows, will also build a U-shaped walkway in the sunken hall to allow visitors easy access onto the boats.

And since NBS is shouldering costs of the build, exhibitors will be able to keep costs down by just wheeling their boats up to the boardwalk. A 25ft sportsboat will cost as little as £3,500 to exhibit in this hall, for instance.

Access to the sunken hall will be via the main walkway or the South Hall, which is all on one level and will be home to all boats, both sail and power.

The North Hall, meanwhile, will house retail outlets, features and the ever-popular Black & White Bar.

The pontoons outside ExCeL will remain, and here will be found used boats, which have never been exhibited before, and larger vessels that can’t fit inside the exhibition centre.

The 2011 instalment of the event will also be accompanied by two complementary shows, The Outdoors Show, and an as-yet unnamed food show. Both will run alongside the boat show, with visitors able to access each with a single ticket.

All this comes at a cost, but NBS would not be drawn on exact figures, saying only that the extra spend on the show compared to previous years was “significant”.