The last sunny weekend in April saw the National Boat Share Show return to Braunston Marina. Visitors were able to get on board 17 different shared ownership boats and talk to existing owners of shares.
All four of the companies which manage boats for their owners' syndicates were at the Show - BCBM, Carefree Cruising, J D Boat Services and Ownashare - so anyone looking for a share had a full range of management styles to select from. Over 25 shares were bought by new owners either at the Show or immediately following it. They will join the 2,500 families who already share narrowboats and get the most boating for their holiday pounds.
Most syndicates advise new share owners to get some formal training and two of the leading trainers of shared ownership boaters were at the Show - T R Boat Handling and Willow WrenTraining. "Training can make all the difference to owners competence, confidence and enjoyment of their boating holidays," comments Andrew Cooley of boatshare4u.co.uk, organiser of the Show. "Even people who have been on hire boat holidays for many years will benefit from training."
Making its debut at the Show was a new system for creating 3D virtual tours of narrowboats offered by Vaccine Media. This new system offers not just a virtual walk through of the boat but also a photographic floor plan and a "doll's house view" that generated lots of "Wow!" comments from visitors who looked at it. The first boat to be photographed this way was the newly launched Sky Lark, commissioned and managed by Carefree Cruising. The results can be seen here.
News also broke at the Show of a new boat from BCBM - Liberté - to be launched next year. This will be the first boat built by BCBM to use the popular list booking system, originally introduced by Ownerships and used by at least 100 of the 240 shared ownership narrowboats on the waterways.
The Autumn Boat Share Show will be at OverwaterMarina on Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th September in conjunction with the RNLI Festival.