As Max says it's sometimes not too hard to get some tickets sent out to you.
This has worked for me in the past, but I do work in procurement and deal with sales people all day long.
Pick a reasonably big boat builder that is based some distance from you, then phone their sales team and pose as a potential customer.
Be VERY polite, but let them know who's in charge of the situation, and speak in the best home counties accent you can manage.
Make sure you have some basic facts about a particular model that will be at the show, and be able to ask a couple of specific questions.
I suggest a mid range Rag and Stick boat made by a big company rather than a RIB from a smaller outfit
Then ask if there is an example of the boat available for viewing anywhere, they will hopefully say a boat is available for viewing at the Southampton show.
Explain that you don't really want to make a special trip to the Southampton show and put up with the crowds just to view the boat.
If an offer of free entry isn't offered straight away ignore it at first and ask if there will be any discount available for signing an order at the show, and if there will be any discount on the actual boat at the show.
Then go straight for the direct approach and ask if they will supply some complimentary tickets for you to view the boat on a specific day.
If they say no, then suggest you may come to the show anyway, as although you have almost decided it will give you the chance to compare some other manufacturers boats. If the answer is still no then try somebody else, it won't be long before somebody does offer you tickets.
As I say it's worked for me, and you might even enjoy playing the game.
RIBBED For extra pleasure.
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