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Dubai International Boat Show progressing nautical narrative


DUBAI: Over the past three decades, Dubai International Boat Show has evolved into the Middle East’s most renowned yachting event, setting trends, driving change, and heightening focus on under-represented issues and themes.

This week, the region’s largest and most established marine lifestyle show is celebrating its 30th anniversary until March 3, with the show once again setting the agenda for the region’s maritime industry.

Whether it is virtual tours of private super-yachts or engaging live demonstrations of new tech, insights into generational differences in boatbuilding or spotting modern Italian style on the show floor, organisers look at some of the key trends, themes, and things to see at Dubai International Boat Show 2024 that make it such a must-attend event for maritime enthusiasts, industry professionals, and the curious public.

Livin’ La Vida Luxuriously

The co-located Marine Luxury Lifestyle exhibition is a celebration of high-end maritime living, showcasing everything from regional destina
tions such as Yas Marina and Saudi Arabia’s NEOM, to Maui Jim sunglasses and Middle Eastern clothing brand Carter and White, which specialises in Egyptian cotton. Visitors can immerse themselves in opulence, with displays showcasing the best in nautical affluence and marine technology. At the Sea keeper stand, guests can view engaging live demonstrations of the company’s innovations, designed to ensure stability in the water by reducing boat roll and pitch.

As Ryan Albers, Director of Sales and Support at Seakeeper Ride, said: ‘The most obnoxious part of boating is the rolling or the slam of the bow as the waves come. If you could eliminate 70-80 per cent of the violence occurring, it makes boating more pleasurable and keeps you and your guests on the boat for longer.’

Forget Hemingway and his Old Man and the Sea, this year’s Dubai International Boat Show is all about appealing to younger generations. In the air-conditioned main tent, amid the Formula One cars and strutting influencers, Australia’s Echo
Yachts is allowing visitors to strap on a Meta Quest 3 headset, virtually step aboard its 84m White Rabbit super-yacht, and explore every inch of the largest trimaran the world has ever seen. Down on the show’s impressive Superyacht Avenue, Feadship’s Chief Marketing Officer Farouk Nefzi gives another insight into the preferences of the younger generation. Feadship’s concept yacht Pure features a windowless command centre filled entirely with screens. ‘When we unveiled this, older captains said: ‘No windows; no way!” said Nefzi. ‘But the younger generations were the opposite. They were like: ‘Yes! It’s the ultimate gaming console, I love it!’

Whether it is a trimaran that uses 40 per cent less power than a similarly sized monohull to achieve the same top speed or a vessel with a solar panelled roof that generates the energy to run its interior electrics, the focus more than ever is on the environment. Like many manufacturers, Dubai-owned Gulf Craft Group is experimenting with the use of hydrogen propulsion,
but Mohammed Alshaali, chairman of Gulf Craft, says it will take time. ‘This is a process not a decision,’ he said. ‘You cannot just decide to move from diesel or gasoline to electric or hydrogen overnight, but the damage to the environment done by the yard is something like 0.002 per cent, so it’s very minimal compared to other sources of threat to the environment. That said, we hope to launch something soon.’

From St Kitts and Nevis to Bulgaria, a host of national flags are fluttering in Dubai Harbour this week while exhibitors have travelled in from more than 55 countries, including four debut nations in the form of Austria, Finland, South Korea, and Sweden. Yet for those walking through the tented area, visitors can be forgiven for thinking they have been transported to Italy. The central walkway features brand representatives from more than a dozen Italian companies such as Zar Formenti, Fidema Group, and the Italian Trade Agency.

Italia Yachts’ Fabio Pignatelli attended last year’s DIBS and says thi
s year he has noted a jump in the number of people with genuine interest in learning about boats from other parts of the world. ‘Here in Dubai, I can see there is a real passion and curiosity to understand the boats and the industry in general. This is different from Italy and it is very nice – to see, to discuss, to share information,’ he added.

While the show has more than 200 boats on display this week, exhibitor and show partner Sobha Real Estate is grabbing with both hands the opportunity to put its latest marine-based project in front of ultra-high net worth individuals and show that terra firma can still hold appeal.

Taking place until March 3 at Dubai Harbour, the Dubai International Boat Show is showcasing an extensive array of international marine attractions from more than 1,000 different brands, including 400 new companies.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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