The South Wales Boat Show Swansea June, 2011
As an extension of their launch festivities this June, SEACAMS attended the South Wales Boat Show on board the Swansea University research vessel, the RV Noctiluca. The 5th annual event, which spanned 3 days from Friday the 17th to Sunday the 19th of June, was held at Swansea’s new SA1 Waterfront.
It was the first time that Swansea University was represented at the show, which also played host to over 250 small craft, 2 royal navy ships and 1 UK Border Control ship. The hefty RV Noctiluca, berthed between two radiantly white and dainty looking yachts, proved popular, with one admirer remarking, “this is my favourite boat”. Despite a rainy start, over 200 people of varying ages embarked the boat over the course of the show for a quick tour and explanation of its equipment and capabilities. In addition, SEACAMS used the opportunity to explain and advertise their research project to the public, which is aimed at providing local Welsh businesses an opportunity to access the skills, laboratory facilities and research capabilities of Swansea University.
In addition to showcasing SEACAMS, the boat show provided a useful information outlet to the public, many of whom did not know that Swansea University owned a research vessel. The SEACAMS staff were also on hand to chat about practical aspects of marine science, with many people fascinated by how, where and why marine biological data was collected, while prospective biology and geography university students collected undergraduate course information. Local boat owners from the Swansea Marina also took the opportunity to have a look at the RV Noctiluca, many of whom were enthralled by the sophisticated echo sounding equipment onboard.
On Sunday, the main attraction for adults and children alike was live feed from a specialised underwater camera and lights set up below the boat on the marina floor. Initial feeds revealed several small moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) hovering majestically in the water column, but this later switched to crabs feeding on bait attached to the video camera frame. Children were invited to complete the rocky shore quiz devised by SEACAMS marine biologist Chiara Bertelli. The quiz was extended from the SEACAMS launch held at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea that Monday, and was won by Luke Gregory of Sandfields Comprehensive, who will receive Judith Oakley’s book ‘Seashore Safaris’.
Overall, the boat show was a great success, with the public enjoying the chance to see one of Swansea University’s most valuable assets, a seagoing research vessel. More importantly though, the boat show enabled local people to chat about their passion for the marine environment, and appreciate how research at Swansea University could potentially help sustain it.