A NEW boat show will be taking place in the borough this spring where visitors and exhibitors can take part for free.

The Portland Fish & Ships event will be held from Friday, April 11 to Sunday, April 13 (10am to 5pm daily).

It is being hosted by the Port-land Marina team at their Osprey Quay site and will showcase the wealth of maritime-related businesses and services available in the area.

The 300-berth Portland Marina, which has five gold anchor status – the highest issued by The Yacht Harbour Association – helped to host the sailing events during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Attractions at the inaugural Portland Fish & Ships will include new and used boat sales, marine-related products, local food and drink stalls, including the Crab House Cafe, live music, plus attendance from local and boating press.

Assistant marina manager Paul Swain said: “With the date set for the early part of the season, we see this as a great opportunity for the local sailing community and non-sailing community of Dorset to come and admire various yachts, and have the ability to seek out expert advice in areas of the marine industry.

“The event will be free for exhibitors and visitors. So far we’ve had a really good uptake.

“We’re focusing on getting maritime businesses involved.

“Everyone on the Osprey Quay site is taking part, along with Portland Port, the RNLI lifeboat charity, local seafood businesses like the Crab House Cafe, musicians such as Finnian McGurk, who is well known for his sea shanties in Weymouth and Portland pubs, plus a lot of other local bands.”

He added: “I think small businesses in the area had a hard time in 2012 with the Olympics, with not being able to really operate.

“Now is the time for local businesses to make their mark.

“We want to help out as much as we can. We’ve got the site and the area to do these things – it will be great.”

Visitors will be able to get on the water during the boat show with taster sessions run by Royal Yachting Association (RYA) training schools.

Activities will include powerboating with Quality Time Training, windsurfing with the Official Test Centre and kitesurfing with Paracademy Extreme.

The boat show will also enable visitors to look around the soon-to-be reopened bar and restaurant, formerly known as The Boat That Rocks.

Swain added: “The new tenants will be operational by then, with a new restaurant name.”

Maritime businesses wishing to exhibit at Portland Fish & Ships can call Swain on 866190 or email sales@portlandmarina.co.uk