The 79-metre River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel, HMS MERSEY, will be the star attraction of the 2012 Barclays Jersey Boat Show.

HMS MERSEY, which weighs a powerful 1,700 tonnes and is deployed primarily to undertake the vital job of fisheries protection and maritime security, will be arriving in Jersey on Friday 4 May ahead of the show, which officially opens to the public on Saturday 5 May, and will be opening her gang plank to visitors for the duration of the event.

‘We are delighted to welcome HMS MERSEY and her crew to Jersey for the 2012 Barclays Jersey Boat Show,’ said Commercial Director for Ports of Jersey, Myra Shacklady. ‘The vessel last attended the show in 2010, and last year we were lucky enough to host her sister ship, HMS SEVERN.  It is wonderful to have HMS MERSEY return and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Royal Navy for their continued support as not all boat shows are lucky enough to host a working Royal Navy warship every year.’

HMS MERSEY was selected to visit this year because as with previous occasions, the winner of the Jersey Cup always comes to the Island to receive her cup from the Lieutenant Governor, which will be presented at the traditional Sea Sunday Service on Sunday 6 May.

HMS MERSEY is the youngest of the three original River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels, which make up the majority of the Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron alongside sister ships, HMS TYNE and SEVERN. She was built in Woolston Docks, Southampton and is based at HM Naval Base Portsmouth. She entered service in 2003, replacing the Island Class Patrol Vessels and patrols UK waters as well as up to 200 miles in the Atlantic, ensuring that fishing boats and trawlers stick to internationally agreed quotas. The ship has just completed a maintenance period, which will allow her to be at sea for a minimum of 320 days a year. The ship is a regular visitor to UK ports and often hosts organised groups. The vessel operates a crew rotation system, which means that a member of the ship’s company normally spends four weeks onboard and two weeks ashore, catching up on leave or on courses. This allows the ship herself to be on almost constant patrol.

‘The Barclays Jersey Boat Show promises to be a great event and it is testament to the popularity of the weekend that we have the involvement of such a prestigious vessel.  We are extremely fortunate to have such support from the Royal Navy.  We are grateful to the crew for allowing members of the public to come on board to view areas of their working and living space and feel honoured to welcome the HMS MERSEY as our main attraction,’ said Richard Corrigan, Director, Barclays, Jersey.

The Barclays Jersey Boat Show, which takes place in and around St Helier Marina, opens on Saturday 5 May and will run for three days over the Bank Holiday weekend, closing on the evening of Monday 7 May. It gives islanders and tourists alike the opportunity to dip their toes in all that’s nautical and discover the wealth of maritime activities and services available in the Island. Now in its fifth year, the award-winning Barclays Jersey Boat Show prides itself on its family atmosphere, featuring a multitude of activities and services both on and off-water.  These include a fisherman’s village, action packed demonstrations and opportunities to ‘have a go’ at activities for adults and children alike and as you’d expect a plethora of boats, many of which will be open to the public to view. The pontoons in St Helier Marina will also feature a mix of aspirational and practical powerboats as well as sailing yachts to purchase or simply admire.  

For those who prefer to keep their feet dry and lap up the festival atmosphere can take advantage of the on-land activities and numerous stalls from a variety of local and non-local traders as well as live stage entertainment and tasty food and drink outlets.

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