Output up for British boat builders

<p>More than 10,000 new pleasure boats were built last year.</p>

British boat builders have seen a surge in production of leisure craft. Last year, more than 10,000 new pleasure boats – including yachts, power boats and dinghies – entered the water, despite challenging trading conditions in the Eurozone and other key markets.

Production in 2014 was up by 4.3 per cent to 10,120 vessels. These ranged from small racing dinghies valued at £1,500 through to 150-foot superyachts that cost tens of millions of pounds, reports the Telegraph.

High demand

The figures come from new research by British Marine in collaboration with Phil Draper & Associates. The industry body indicated that the data was encouraging, saying it demonstrates that "British build is still in high demand".

Much of the industry's £2.93 turnover comes from the more than 1,600 SMEs and micro-businesses. Together, these employ 31,500 people and nearly one-third of the revenue comes from boat production.

UK-based sailboat companies are also playing a key role in the industry's growth, and firms such as Topper International, Laser Performance and RS sailing have seen global success. The latter has recently launched an Aero model, which has received international recognition and earned accolades in the Netherlands and the US.

In addition, British Marine says that the UK motoryacht sector has seen growth of 10 per cent in the production of boats above 80 feet (24 metres). Iconic luxury brands like Princess Yachts and Sunseeker International are seeing growth in international demand as they continue to manufacture even larger boats – such as the trideck Sunseeker 155 yacht, which was launched in 2014.

Strong British marine industry

Commenting on the data, Sarah Dhanda, membership and services director at British Marine, explained that the figures showcase the strength of the British marine industry, even though the industry is seeing increased competition from international markets. "It is the high-quality skills and versatility of our members which keeps the UK at the forefront of production," she said.

Ms Dhanda added that the figures could see further improvements.

"With increased support from the government, called for in British Marine's Manifesto, we could see future figures soar as the full productivity potential of UK marine businesses is unleashed," she said.

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