Well, it's that time of year again . . . the days are getting (ever so slightly) longer, we’ve started to read the sailing magazines again and our minds are turning to getting out onto the water. And, of course, it’s London International Boat Show time.

The show is at Excel in London Docklands for the umpteenth year, and this year it feels more established than ever. Of course, some of us will always bemoan the demise of the old Earl’s Court show and the naysayers will complain about the Excel show being too small, lacking in atmosphere, and so on. But this year, for some reason, it feels good. Despite the prevailing economic climate, there are strong undercurrents of optimism. There’s a buzz. And there are buyers around.

An interesting article in The Times during the first few days of the show confirmed our belief that marketing preferences have moved away from new and towards used boats. In fact, one of the Show’s organisers was quoted as saying “Since 1954 it’s been new boats, new boats, new boats. But we recognize that times are difficult and people are being more cautious with their leisure spending, so this year our motto is ‘come and fall in love for less.’”

He’s right, of course. Today, buying a used boat makes far more sense than buying new. Before the recession really bit, a significant amount of UK earnings – and particularly City earnings here in London - went into the purchase of new boats at the show. Now, things are different. People are still buying boats, but these days a used vessel is a more shrewd purchase than a new one.

Manufacturers of new boats rarely admit it, but the second hand market is more buoyant than ever. As with a car, a new boat can lose half its value in two years. In many cases, that can mean wiping out tens or often hundreds of thousands of pounds. In that context, buying a used boat starts to make more sense. Whether it’s a £10,000 speedboat or a £1m luxury yacht, if you buy used you can get twice the boat for the same amount of money.

And, as far as London boaters are concerned, if you do buy a boat, does it make sense to keep it in central London or do you need to spend hours travelling to the south or east coast to use it? The concept of keeping a boat in London is often overlooked but is a great option. We’ve got some superb marinas on our doorstep – St Katherine Docks, South Dock Marina, Limehouse, Polpar Dock, Gallions Point and Chelsea Harbour. In many cases, the mooring fees are much less than they would be on the south coast and you can keep your pride and joy within minutes of your home or office.

Londoners are very close to the Kent or Essex coastlines or, if you have a motor boat that will safely pass under bridges, you can head upstream to explore the lovely middle and upper reaches of the Thames. Either way, there’s some great boating territory right on your doorstep.

If you’re visiting the show, do drop by to say hello to the Boatshed team on Stand G19 (close to the Guinness Bar!). You can view thousands of great used boats on our website and get some frank, pragmatic advice from our expert brokers.