Huge success for Poole Maritime Festival 2019

Posted on Monday 17 June 2019

Poole Maritime Festival’s Business Programme 2019 has once again been hailed a resounding success, attracting around 450 delegates over five days.

The Business Programme, now in its third year, is organised by BCP Council in partnership with a number of local organisations, and is designed to celebrate Dorset’s outstanding maritime industry. The focus this year was on “Looking to the Future” and how innovation in technology and smart systems is influencing the future of the sector.

The Business Programme launched with the Smart Ports Focus Group, a full day organised by the Council, exploring challenges, opportunities and creative ideas for smart port solutions. The event attracted 80 local and international delegates in areas such as IoT, blockchain and AI, port stakeholders, logistics companies, local and central government, and university researchers, amongst others. The morning session included short masterclasses from the UK Digital Catapult on the key digital technology involved in smart ports with an aim to demystify the technology and inspire the stakeholders in the room. The afternoon sessions then focussed on understanding the real challenges faced by the port areas of Poole, Portland and Portsmouth, and innovative ideas were put forward on how they could be resolved.

The second event was the Maritime Business Breakfast at Rick Stein, hosted by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The breakfast gave the opportunity for local businesses to network and share best practice and ideas.

This was followed by Dorset Engineering & Manufacturing Cluster’s Women in Engineering event at the RNLI. Around 50 Delegates heard from a number of inspiring female speakers from the RNLI, Actisense, Siemens, Talbot Heath School and Women’s Sat Nav to Success, discussing their career paths and the different initiatives to encourage more girls to choose a career in engineering.

The Marine Growth and Innovation Conference, at the Haven Hotel, aimed to explore some of the major challenges facing the sector and hear about some of the key success stories which are transforming the industry. Speakers included the OECD, Make UK, and RNLI; and a panel with Innovate UK, South Coast Marine Cluster, and Dorset Growth Hub informed delegates about the support on offer to local businesses. A double presentation from Sunseeker and MTU UK gave a fascinating insight into their collaboration on hybrid propulsion. The event attracted more than 130 delegates and received a lot of praise from delegates present for the quality of the content and the opportunity to meet relevant business contacts.

The Conference was followed by an evening reception at the Harbour Heights Hotel.

The week concluded with a Marine STEM* Challenge organised by BCP Council, Barclays Eagle Lab and Young Enterprise. The event brought together teams of year nine students from local schools mentored by business leaders from Siemens, Actisense and BCP Council. Students competed to build the best solution to tackle local flooding using IoT technology. The Chairman of BCP Council, Dorset Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster together with representatives from Actisense and Young Enterprise judged the competition. The winning team was from St Edwards school. The event was opened by Michael Tomlinson, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, who gave an inspiring address about the importance of STEM subjects. *STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Graham Farrant, Chief Executive of BCP Council, said “I am delighted that the Poole Maritime Festival Business Programme continues to grow year on year in strength and numbers. It is very important for the Council to continue supporting and investing into this event to help grow our significantly important marine and maritime sector locally. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved for the quality of the content and for bringing together a wide-range of stakeholders in the industry across the whole week.”

Jim Stewart, Chief Executive of Poole Harbour Commissioners, said “What a fantastic event! Poole Maritime Festival has delivered a thought-provoking programme, focussing on innovation in the maritime sector. The Festival is a unique event in the UK maritime calendar which is growing in stature every year and is one which Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership and PHC are very much proud to be associated.”

The Business Programme was followed by the highly popular Poole Harbour Boat Show on the weekend and a number of maritime-related events for the whole family will take place throughout June across Poole including Harry Paye Day and free water-sports taster sessions.

All information on the public festival can be found on