Gosport businesses come together to support the Gosport Marine Festival

Volunteering time, money or resources, a group of local Gosport businesses have come together to support the Gosport Marine Festival, taking place on Saturday 4th September on Gosport Waterfront.

Offering the young people of Gosport and the surrounding area over 600 free opportunities to get out on the water, the Gosport Marine Festival would not be able to take place without this generous support.

“The festival gives anyone who’d like to give something new a try the chance to get out on the water in a fun, friendly and safe environment,” says Barry Easton-Corke, Gosport Marine Festival chairman.

“This area is surrounded by water, and we want to encourage as many of the young people in the area to participate in the different activities available along the coast, from sailing to stand-up paddleboarding. Many just don’t have the opportunity, which is what the festival is all about, giving them that opportunity.

“This event would just not be possible without the fantastic support of our many volunteers who donate their time, and the generosity of local charities, marine businesses, the Gosport Sea Cadets and Scouts and our sponsors.”

Ben Lippiett, marina manager at boatfolk’s Haslar Marina were many of the on water activities are taking place, says: “We are thrilled to be playing our part in the local community, and wider area, to do all we can to increase youth participation.  We are all set to get hundreds of children on the water, experiencing all the delights that getting afloat has to offer.”

As with many activities, if someone is introduced to sailing and watersports as a young person, it is more likely that they’ll carry the interest through into their adult life, supporting the sport and the industry surrounding it.

Sam Vaughan, head of sales at Gosport based Seldén Mast, comments: “We wholeheartedly support any event that gets kids and young people involved in watersports. But our sponsorship of the event is not entirely altruistic. Many people who are out sailing today started as a child and have continued to participate in some form throughout their life.

“As an industry, it’s incredibly important to get people involved in sailing and watersports at the grassroots level, so that they continue to be involved and are not lost to the multitude of other activities on offer. We see it as an investment in the future, not just in the young people, but the leisure marine industry itself.”

New to this year’s event is the Inspiration Zone in the Trinity Church. This area is designed to bring together local marine companies to highlight to young people what opportunities exist for working in the marine industry in the area and to offer careers advice to those already keen to get started.

Companies present in the Inspiration Zone include the Royal Navy, Marine Concepts, Seldén Masts, Qinetiq and the Andrew Simpson Foundation who, alongside Stokes Bay Sailing Club, have also donated boats, paddleboards and instructors for the on water sessions.

“As a small business we understand the importance of working with the community and raising awareness of opportunities in the marine industry,” says Sarah Thomson from SubSea Craft.

“SubSea Craft is happy to support events that help inspire the next generation. Within our business we understand that due to technology advancing, fresh talent is vital to keep up with new technology and stay relevant, because of this SubSea Craft is proud to sponsor the Gosport Marine Festival.”

Mike Shepherd, from sponsor British Marine Trades Association, says it was a “no brainer” for the association to be involved: “Supporting Portsmouth Harbour Marine and the Gosport Marine Festival in getting kids out on the water, and trying different watersports, just makes sense.

“Not only are you giving hundreds of children a potentially life-changing opportunity, but you’re introducing them to activities which could so easily develop into a life-long passion or a career.

“As an association we are keen to support anything that promotes the marine trades and careers in the marine industry, and the Gosport Marine Industry does that on so many levels.”

Organised by Portsmouth Harbour Marine in partnership with Gosport Borough Council, the Gosport Marine Festival is being supported this year by the Andrew Simpson Foundation, boatfolk, the owners of Haslar Marina, Hampshire County Council, Wates Residential, Gosport Hospital Radio, MAA, British Marine Trades Association, ASDA, Seldén Mast, Lee-on-the-Solent and Stokes Bay Sailing Clubs, Gosport Sea Cadets, Gosport Scouts, Master Mariners, Victoria Quay, Qinetiq, Regional City Airports (Solent Airport), SubSea Craft, Trafalgar Properties and Premier Gosport Marina.

“On behalf of everyone involved, I’d just like to say a massive thank you to all the local businesses who are supporting us,” adds Barry. “This year’s event is shaping up to be the best festival yet, and it’s all down to your generous support.”

For more information on the Gosport Marine Festival or to book online visit: https://portsmouthharbourmarine.org.uk/events/gosport-marine-festival-2021/