Superyachts help boost leisure boat sales

Revenues across the industry rose 1.6% to £3.01bn for the year to April 2016.

Industry body British Marine said it was the first time sales had topped £3bn since the 2008-9 crisis.

Boat manufacturers were “particularly buoyant” after the Brexit vote, increasingly driven by the superyacht sector.

Since the referendum and the slump in the pound, demand has been boosted by billionaires seeking a bargain on luxury vessels such as those made in Britain by the Sunseeker and Princess brands.

The fall in the pound means yachts sold in sterling are cheaper for buyers holding foreign currencies.

Recent figures showed the superyacht sector was worth an annual £605m.

Sir Philip Green reacts angrily to questions from Sky News

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British Marine chief executive Howard Pridding said: “The industry remains robust – revenue is growing and we are taking on more employees.

“Despite the post-referendum volatility impacting on business and consumer confidence, the industry remains bullish and keen to take advantage of the short and medium term opportunities that lie ahead.”

Revenues for engines and equipment rose 8.8% to £335m while there was a 6.8% rise in turnover for hire, passenger and charter boats rose 6.8% to £351m.

Superyachts are closely associated with mega-rich tycoons.

Sir Philip Green drew public anger after he was pictured on board his boat Lionheart, reportedly worth £100m, shortly after the collapse of BHS.

British Marine’s figures cover a period in which Northamptonshire-based boat maker Fairline collapsed with the loss of hundreds of jobs – though the brand name and part of the business was rescued by Russian investors.

But the report said confidence in the sector was high with the slump in the pound boosting the purchasing power for foreign consumers.

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