Southampton: Maritime Awards launched to celebrate key UK sector

The most innovative projects, people and organisations within the UK’s maritime sector are set to be unveiled at a brand-new awards ceremony in the Solent region next month.

The first-ever Maritime UK Awards takes place in Southampton on September 19 and will celebrate the impressive work taking place within the sector, one of Britain’s biggest, that contributes £37.4 billion to UK GVA.

Among the awards to be handed out on the evening will be those for International Trade, Sustainability and Diversity. There is a strong focus on the future, with categories for Innovation, Future Skills, and Maritime 2050. Education is also a key theme, with awards for businesses that demonstrate true commitment to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.

Awards will be given to individuals as well as businesses and organisations. Categories such as the Rising Star Award will celebrate young people who have made a real impact on their business, charity or organisation. Meanwhile, the Business of the Year, Start-up of the Year and Employer of the Year Awards will celebrate the businesses that make up the thriving maritime sector. A Coastal Powerhouse Award will also be given to the business, charity, organisation that has proven itself as a driver for growth within a coastal community.

Tickets have now gone on sale for the awards event, with further details about the evening being revealed this week.

The awards will be hosted by producer and presenter Helen Bulkeley, who is no stranger to the maritime world. She co-hosted the America’s Cup World Series celebrations in Portsmouth in 2015 and 2016 and was also one of the co-hosts for the Rolex Sailor of the Year Awards in China.

Bulkeley said: “Acknowledging the hard work of individuals and organisations in a vastly diverse industry is something that’s important to me. I am delighted and honoured to have been asked to host what promises to be a feel-good evening of celebration and recognition, as the Maritime UK Awards take to the stage for the first time.”

The night will see the formal launch of Solent LEP-backed Maritime UK Solent cluster organisation, which will champion the region as a globally significant maritime hub. It will also feature a three-course meal, a live music ‘surprise’ and DJ set after the awards are presented.

Kevin George is chair of the Board for Red Funnel and a business director of Solent LEP, which is hosting the awards and was instrumental in bringing the event to the Solent. He said: “The anticipation is building for these new and very important awards and we’re thrilled that the inaugural event is being held in the Solent.

“I’m particularly looking forward to formally launching Maritime UK Solent on the night. It aligns perfectly with many of the facets of the industry that we’ll be celebrating through the awards.”

Ben Murray, director at Maritime UK, added: “The Solent region’s maritime economy supports 120,000 jobs and facilities trade worth a huge £77.5b so it’s a fitting place to hold the inaugural Maritime UK Awards. We’re looking forward to celebrating the very best work taking place within this exciting and important industry.”

The shortlisted finalists for the Maritime UK Awards will be announced soon.