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Covid-safe boat test runs in Lauttasaari, Helsinki

The ("Finland goes boating") boat testing days, held for the third time at last weekend in Lauttasaari, Helsinki, provided safe test runs for both experienced and new boaters. The popularity of boating is at record highs and the sun was shining on boaters in the waters of Lauttasaari.

During Friday and Saturday last week, more than twenty boats were driven with nearly 300 test runs and a total of more than 500 test drivers. Sunny weather and the opportunity to test various boats brought people to the event area, but congestion was avoided.

"There is a clear need for such an event. We want to offer people the opportunity to compare and test different types of boats during one event so that they can choose the boat that is just right for their needs. A boat is a long-term purchase, so comparing the alternatives by a test drive is wise", says Jarkko Pajusalo, CEO of Finnboat, the organizer of the event.

"The weather was nice, people were in a good mood and clearly looking for a boat. Among the participants were also those who had no previous experience in boating and I believe that their interest was further strengthened after the test runs. It was nice to see that the people interested in boating ranged from single-handed sailors to families and that the age distribution was also wide", says Erkan Fere, CEO of Bike & Boat World.

"For Candela's all-electric motorboat, the event was a success. We did 42 test drives in 2 days and 100 people had the opportunity to enjoy a quiet, wave-free and fun test drive", says Sabina Hollmén of Telva Oy.

The event, organized in cooperation with boating companies, featured a wide range of boats of various sizes and types, from small outboard motorboats to luxury electric boats and sailboats.

The growth of the popularity of summer cottage life and boating is at its peak - boat registrations in Finland are up by more than 30%

The strong popularity of boating continues and the upturn is even accelerating for the second year in a row. Last year the growth in the registrations of new watercraft was 20% and the growth in the first five months of this year is as high as 31%. Delivery times for the most popular boat models are now stretched to summer 2022 in almost all sizes, which is very exceptional.

The increased popularity of summer cottages and boating was reflected in the number of test drivers and one could see groups of friends and also families, especially on Saturday. Some of the visitors wanted to get familiar with boating, but many already had the purchase of a boat in mind. The delivery times for the boats have been stretched, so some of the test drivers were comparing the options with eyes already on the next summer.

An outdoor event is safe also during exceptional times

At an event held in a large outdoor area, it was easy to keep safe distances and disposable gloves and masks were also available for those interested. The boat testers were as groups together with their own family or friends and the boat skippers were instructed to clean the boat railings, steering wheels and handles between test runs.

"It was easy to keep safe distances in an area of almost an acre. The test drives of the most popular boats had a bit of queues on Saturday, but on a beautiful summer day, sitting on the pier and admiring the boats at sea is already pleasant in itself. And due to the large size of the area, the wait did not even cause congestion", says Pajusalo.

"The event was a success. All safety regulations and customer encounters were carried out in accordance with COVID-19 regulations", says Fere.

In addition to the trade association Finnboat, the event was organized by the Helsinki Boat Show and numerous Finnish boat manufacturers and importers.

Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show in August

The main boating event of the summer is the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show in mid-August. More than 130 exhibitors have already registered for the event and there will be many new models as well as boat brands previously not seen in Finland. The Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show will be held safely in the open air on 19-22 August 2021 in the two-hectare area of HSK's yacht club harbour, and the event also has excellent opportunities for test runs. "Now is the time to go boating and to the summer cottages. Let's exchange the boating summer experiences again in UIVA in August", says Pajusalo.

For more information, please contact:
Jarkko Pajusalo
Finnish Marine Industries Federation Finnboat
puh. +358 40 673 4032