Open Boat Weekend at Ipswich Haven Marina enjoys more than 300% rise in visitor numbers

April 11, 2018

Image caption: The owners of Orwell Lady, Sailing Barge Victor and the Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant and Linda Pipe, ABP Ipswich Haven Marina Manager

Crowds of visitors flocked to Ipswich Haven Marina during an Open Boat Weekend, for a chance to get on board the three leisure vessels the Orwell Lady, Barge Victor and the Allen Gardiner and meet their crews.

More than 500 members of the public came to explore the three cruise boats, in comparison to 150 in 2017, representing more than three-fold rise in visitor numbers. This is the second year the three leisure boat operators, based in the former Wet Dock, have joined forces to set a successful start to the tourist season.

Emma Lightfoot from the Orwell Lady, commented: “I was delighted to see such a jump in the number of people interested in our three boats and visiting the Waterfront. We were also thankful that the Mayor was available to open the event, and look forward to a busy summer on the river.”

The Ipswich Haven Marina, which welcomes thousands of visitors every year has become a star attraction of the Ipswich Waterfront since its opening in May 2000. Situated at the head of the beautiful River Orwell it has access to superb facilities including restaurants, cafes, museums, parks and historic buildings.

Paul Ager, Divisional Port Manager East Anglia said: "It is great to see the popularity of the annual Open Boat Weekend grow so rapidly and I would like to congratulate the boat owners for their hard work in making it a success.

“We are always happy to support public events like this as they bring many benefits to the local community and businesses by attracting tourists to the Ipswich waterfront and offering a boost to the prosperity of the region.”
Dave Westwood, Skipper at the Sailing Barge Victor, said: “We are all totally thrilled with the amount of visitors that came to see all three vessels for the Open Boat Weekend. We were pleased to see both old and new faces.”

Craig Ambury from Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant, said: “The excellent collaboration of our three boat businesses made this event a success, attracting plenty of visitors. This was a fantastic opportunity for the public to experience each boat individually as well as enjoy the marina.”