New marine industry minister tours the show

Lord Drayson, the Government minister with responsibility for the marine industry, visited the Southampton Boat Show yesterday.

The minister, who was appointed in June this year, was at the show for the day and met with a range of manufacturers and suppliers. He used the opportunity to pledge his support to the industry.

Lord Drayson was introduced to six different boatbuilding companies and seven firms supplying marine equipment, to learn more about their operations and to listen to a range of concerns. He also visited the British Marine Federation and Royal Yachting Association to discuss their Green Blue environmental initiative.

Following his visit, Lord Drayson said: “As a boating and sailing enthusiast myself, I have a keen interest in the marine industry and am delighted to have been invited to the boat show to discuss the challenges it faces.

“The boat building sector has an annual turnover of £1billion and employs over 10,000 people. It’s a real success story, with luxury power boat manufacturing amongst the top three in the world.

“There is some great innovation and manufacturing capability in this sector and I am interested to see how this may be applied to the marine defence industry as well. I’m particularly pleased to be able to see the progress being made on the Green Blue project, with the BMF working so closely with the Royal Yachting Association. This initiative will minimise the impact of our activities on the environment.”

Rob Stevens, Chief Executive of the BMF, added: “It was a pleasure to welcome Lord Drayson to the Southampton Boat Show today and to hear his encouraging remarks regarding the success of the industry.

“I hope this will mark the beginning of a long and beneficial dialogue with the minister in his new marine role about the crucial role played by the marine industry, and for support in dealing with issues of major concern. I look forward to welcoming the minister to future events.”

The UK leisure marine industry has an annual turnover of £2.8 billion and employs 35,000 people.