Dubai boat show expected to draw crews and the simply curious

Would-be sailors and old hands are expected to turn out in force for the start of the Dubai International Boat Show today as the construction of new marinas in the city tempts more people to spend time on the water.

The 23rd five-day event at Dubai International Marine Club in Mina Seyahi will be a launch pad for new models of yachts and boats costing millions of dirhams.

The event drew about 26,000 people from 120 countries last year, with 77 per cent of them from around the region.

About 800 exhibitors from 54 countries are expected at this year’s show.

Ajman-based Gulf Craft, a yacht manufacturer and boat builder, will launch a new brand of family boats costing between Dh7 million and Dh17m.

“People have more interest in boats and yachts with low fuel consumption and family boats, and there is less interest in speed and show-off,” said Erwin Bamps, Gulf Craft’s chief executive.

The company will also launch its latest $11m superyacht at the show. Gulf Craft has three shipyards in the UAE and one in the Maldives.

Sharjah-based Al Shaali Boats will launch a 30-metre superyacht at the show.

Boat makers such as Dubai-based IMG Boats from the developers of the IMG theme park, Qatar’s Halul Boats, the super-craft makers HullSquared from Athens, and the luxury amphibious boat maker Iguana Yachts are also expected to launch new models.

While berths are at a premium across Dubai, the construction of new marinas is expected to provide more choice for boat owners in the city. New marinas in the Northern Emirates and the east coast are also finding takers.

“There is a lack of berthing space and affordable berthing space in Dubai, and the costs are higher in the centre of Dubai,” Mr Bamps said. “But new marinas are coming up from Musandam to the east coast.”

The Dubai canal project, which is scheduled for completion next year, is expected to be a boon for the boating sector as it will allow people to cruise through the heart of the city.

The Dubai Maritime City Authority required all operators of marine craft to be licensed from January 1.


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