Tamara Ecclestone grabs headlines for 2012 Tullett Prebon London show

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Socialite and reality TV star, Tamara Ecclestone opened the 2012 Tullett Prebon London Boat Show at The Excel, going barefoot to pose on the teak deck of a superyacht.

Tamara said: 'I’m thrilled to have been involved in this fantastic event. I have fond memories of being taken out on yachts from an early age and so I’ve always loved being out on the water. I really enjoyed seeing all the action live at the show as well as being given a tour of all the new boats that were launched this year – I’d definitely recommend it as being a fun day out for all.'

London's International Boat Show, one of the biggest in Europe, is looking to tap into other high-end markets to attract new customers during a recession that has priced out mid-range sailors.

'It's like any industry -- it's looking to diversify,' said Michael Enser, head of marketing at the British Marine Federation, which represents businesses from makers of canoes to super yachts.

'It is bringing in high-net worths, and they are reasonably insulated from the economy. If we invite those people into the show who have not been exposed to boats in the past it is a new audience for manufacturers to engage in, to sell their products, and eventually a new boater.'

Numbers of people passing through the turnstiles at London's Boat Show have not recovered from pre-GFC levels, while exhibitor numbers are down by about 10 percent.

Among the biggest absentees are French boat builder Beneteau along with Dufour and Elan.

'It's still a very sizeable show,' said Murray Ellis, managing director of National Boat Shows. 'It is not a reflection of the show, that is purely a reflection of the UK economy and the UK marine market.'

Taking space in 2012 are luxury cars, watches, a contemporary fine art gallery, jewellry and a home cinema. A rare diamonds investment company has also slotted in alongside the champagne bars.

More at www.londonboatshow.com