British marine industry sees surge in demand

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British yacht and leisure boat builders saw a surge in demand from overseas buyers last year, helping the wider U.K. leisure marine industry to post revenue of about $4.75 billion.

Sales of boats built in the United Kingdom and destined for international clients rose 7.9 percent in the 12 months that ended in April of 2013, swinging from an 8.3 percent drop a year earlier, the British Marine Federation told The Guardian.

Revenue in the wider industry — ranging from sales of superyachts to the hiring of pleasure craft and canoes — rose 1.7 percent during the same period.

Trade with Europe and North America was particularly robust and it grew by nearly 10 percent with each region, the British Marine Federation told the paper.

However, there also were signs of a more recent recovery in domestic demand, with 43 percent of the companies experiencing a heavier workload from British clients in the six months to the end of November, compared with a year earlier.

In addition, 38 percent of the companies have seen an increase in the value of domestic orders. The two trends are at their “most positive” since before the recession, the BMF told the publication.

The leisure marine sector supports 31,000 jobs in the U.K.

“The leisure marine industry is in good shape going into 2014,” Howard Pridding, the federation’s chief executive, told The Guardian. “Having exported its way back to growth and increased the delivery of goods and services to international markets to over 1 billion pounds last year, the sector is now poised to capitalize on the improving domestic economy. U.K. boatbuilding is a manufacturing success story with a worldwide reputation, and the London Boat Show this week is a great way to showcase this expertise while also marking the start of a new chapter for the industry.”

The London show wrapped up on Sunday.

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