BoatLife Opens

The NEC Birmingham welcomed a packed hall of visitors today at BoatLife 2024 – Powered by Suzuki as Ollie Ollerton, from Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, opened the four-day event.

Ollie Ollerton

Ollie talked about his motivation to establish the BreakPoint Academy, his involvement in water-based military operations and his clear love of boating. A proud boat owner, he recently picked up a stealth design Iron 827 from the The Wolf Rock Boat Company.

With more than 220 boats on display, a 25 per cent increase from last year, as well as a more extensive range of exhibitors taking larger stands this year, the BoatLife floor was packed with a buzz of activity.

Power boats were displayed by names such as Cobalt Boats, Parker Adams, TBS Boats, Ryds, Wills Marine, CDT, Idealboat and sturdy RIBs from Barrus Marine, Rebel Leisure, Ocean Ribs, Excel and Cambrian Marine.

Waterways options from companies ABC Leisure, ABNB Brokerage, Bray Marine Sales and Tingdene were very popular in the Inland Zone sponsored by HPi VS, represented by Ambassadors David Johns from Cruising the Cut and Adam Lind from Floating Home. Narrowboats from Lakeland Leisure Estates and JF Boatbuilding proved an impressive feature, and media partners Canal Boat Magazine offered a great readership deal.

The Angling Zone, with media partner Sea Angler Magazine, was a vibrant hub, where the Cox and Rawle Rig Centre offered a great spot for advice and tips. Brands included Catch and Cook, Peter Leonard Marine, On-Top Angling, Inflatable Boat Fishing, Small Boats Sea Fishing, Suzuki Fishing and Whitewater Marine while Ambassadors for this zone were notable fishing personalities – John Locker, Will Parkinson and Squidward 3.

At the lively GJW Direct Activity Pool, Rockley organised plenty of free have-a-go sessions for visitors, with paddleboards provided by North Sands and kayaks from Riber. As always, these great activities resulted in plenty of family fun and laughter! Nearby, the beach area with surf simulator, ice cream and fish & chips van plus Mermaid Gin Bar, added to the lifestyle vibe as a convenient place to meet up with friends.

The atmosphere was buzzing on the Main Stage sponsored by Pelagic Sales Network and hosted by Olympic commentator Alec Wilkinson. Guests heard three groundbreaking announcements with the first from the MES Racing Team detailing their exclusive trilogy challenge. Headline sponsor Suzuki UK launched an exceptional new outboard and the innovative Cruise Moor Scheme debuted with Aqueduct Marinas. In addition guests were treated to a range of appearances from watersports cameraman Matt Connor, angling chat from Adam Jones and John Locker, with epic RIB adventurer Harry Dwyer later in the day.

Green tech was well represented with the much awaited debut of the Torqeedo travel range package demo, new business launched as well as debuting the new ePropulsion eLite 500w electric outboard, while eco-friendly Washdown products were delivered to all boats on display. Within this framework, exhibitors such as Mastervolt, RAD Propulsion, BonomiWhisper Power, BluNav and Solar Technology certainly piqued plenty of interest with an assortment of sustainable marine options.

Outside, the Isuzu driving challenge was in full swing, with the NEC course being put to the test by eager drivers ready to take on the gruelling track.

As a family-friendly, all-inclusive event packed with countless opportunities to explore the boating lifestyle, this show has evolved substantially in just three short years.


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