News story

Transport Secretary sees thriving UK marine sector at London Boat Show

Patrick McLoughlin meets next generation of boat designers keeping Britain ahead of the worldwide competition.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin today (13 January 2016) saw the cream of Britain’s world-class marine sector as he visited the London Boat Show at ExCeL.

He met exhibitors showcasing the latest state-of-the-art, British-built boats and also heard first-hand about skilled job opportunities from university design students currently taking part in a Superyacht UK design competition.

The UK’s maritime industry, including commercial shipping and sea ports, currently contributes at least £11 billion to the economy each year, and supports around 113,000 jobs and 6,600 businesses. It encompasses the marine sector, which focuses primarily on the engineering and innovative technology behind the vessels.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

The UK’s maritime industry is a major success story and the London Boat Show displays the impressive skills and world-class products provided by the sector.

Britain’s highly advanced, leading maritime industries are creating jobs and keeping the UK ahead of the worldwide competition. We are determined to play our part by supporting the UK’s continued growth as a leading international maritime nation, from leisure boats to the biggest container ships afloat today.

Among the exhibitors Patrick McLoughlin met were Princess Yachts International, who employ over 2,300 people at a former naval yard in Plymouth that was redeveloped following support from the government’s Regional Growth Fund. Also, Williams Jet Tenders who started in 1995 creating handcrafted wooden power boats from a garden shed and have since developed into a worldwide brand.

Patrick McLoughlin at the London Boat Show at ExCeL.

Howard Pridding, Chief Executive of British Marine, said:

We were delighted to host the Secretary of State at the London Boat Show. The UK’s marine industry is a vibrant sector, growing again for the fourth consecutive year. We welcome the government’s renewed focus on marine and maritime and we are working with departments across government to meet the ambitions set out in the Maritime Growth Study. As always, there is more that can be done from all of us and we look forward to working with Secretary of State to further the success of the sector.

Maritime Minister Robert Goodwill also attended the London Boat Show to give a speech to the Royal Yachting Association detailing the work undertaken by the Department for Transport to support the industry following the Maritime Growth Study.

Last month the government responded to the study with pledges to work with industry to boost training in the sector, identify skills gaps, support maritime education and promote the wide range of careers in the sector.

The government also took forward one of the study’s key recommendations by establishing a ministerial working group to tackle key issues in the sector and identify opportunities for future growth. The group met for the first time in November 2015.

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