THOUSANDS of people will descend on Inverkip this weekend for one of the biggest maritime events in the UK.

Scotland's Boat Show 2018 launched at Kip Marina yesterday, with enjoy a packed programme awash with lots to do, see and buy.

There are several pavilions showcasing the best in Scottish food and drink, cooking, arts and crafts, and promoting what Inverclyde has to offer to the huge crowds who attend from all over the country and further afield.

Over 12,000 people attend the show each year and it is expected to be another bumper weekend.

Gordon Smith, regional director for national tourism agency VisitScotland, helped open the event and says the boat show is a jewel in the crown for the area.

He said: "It's a fantastic event for Inverclyde, showcasing a great asset - the water - and all that it brings. "We see the economic impact of events like this bringing people into the region.

"Events like this are a catalyst for tourism, which brings jobs and economic growth through people coming here to stay in the accommodation and dine in restaurants, for example.

"It's a great way to showcase the area to people from other parts of Scotland and the UK and to promote sailing and all that it brings."

The event, which is free, is the biggest of its kind in Scotland and the second largest in Britain.

It is on from 10am to 6pm again today and tomorrow.

There is a new layout this year with bigger pavilions hosting cooking demonstrations from West College Scotland chefs based at the Greenock campus.

There will also be guest talks, live entertainment, food and fashion and arts and crafts stalls.

Outside, attractions include 13ft replicas of the famous Falkirk Kelpies, an array of luxury cars and motorhomes, free boat rides and 'get on the water activities', a children's play area and, of course, a wide range of new and pre-owned boats for sale.

Linda Simpson, who lives in Skelmorlie, is among the WCS Greenock campus team who will be there over the weekend selling goods and helping with the cooking demos.

She said: "This is my second year at the boat show and there's a really good atmosphere as always."

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