The UAE is set to build on its position as one of the world's leading international yacht manufacturing hubs as local manufacturers expand their operations, international developers relocate and the maritime industry expands with coastline developments, according to industry experts.
The UAE currently ranks ninth in the world for superyacht manufacturing, with 15 projects under development, according to the 2015 ShowBoats International Global Order Book. Local and international manufacturers are set to announce a slew of new projects for the UAE at the 23rd Dubai International Boat Show.
The region's leading leisure marine event, taking place from 3-7 March of 2015, will have boats on display worth Dh 1 billion according to the organisers, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
Dr. Khalid Al Zahed, Vice Chairman, Dubai International Marine Club Board, said: "This year's Dubai International Boat Show will reaffirm Dubai's status as a leisure marine hub. As the water-based lifestyle becomes increasingly popular in Dubai, we will see this sector continue to expand and grow in the future. Dubai's commitment to excellence in everything it does will drive the marine industry to achieve new heights and bring more visitors to the city." According to the Dubai Council for Marine and Maritime Industries (DCMMI), the total UAE maritime industry is worth more than USD 61 billion, with 386 boats above 24m built in 2014, up 8% on 2013. The fleet of yachts in Dubai has doubled since 2009 and the DCMMI predicts the creation of a national classification society - Tasneef - and the introduction of the world's first code governing private yachts, the UAE Yacht Code, will boost the industry's future development.
Boat builders expand manufacturing activities in UAE Boosting Dubai's position as a global maritime hub, Comar Yachts, which has produced more than 6,200 yachts to date, will relocate some of its production facilities from Italy to the UAE. The company aims to manufacture locally around 100 catamarans and powerboats per annum in the 26-46 foot range, as it looks to penetrate the wider GCC market and beyond. Comar Yachts will also announce a major global launch at this year's Dubai International Boat Show, with the world premiere of its Comet Power Cat line of power catamarans.
"The UAE has the advantage of being a major geographical hub, allowing us to extend our reach not only across the GCC but to India and south-east Asia as well. By moving production facilities here we are able to build boats, reach new markets and attract new customers more economically," said Marco Liello, Partner, Comar Yachts. "If you look at the success of the regional yachting industry then a lot more shipyards should come to this part of the world, it's just a question of finding the right place." Local manufacturers are also expanding activities in line with the growth in Dubai's maritime industry, which also aligns with Dubai's National Innovation Strategy aiming to make the UAE one of the world's most innovative nations within the next seven years.
The UAE's Gulf Craft is investing USD 100 million over the next five years to develop a state-of-the-art facility to build a shipyard for the manufacture of mega and super yachts within the marine district of Dubai Maritime City, a world-class maritime cluster in the heart of Dubai.
Named one of the top ten superyacht shipyards in the world, Gulf Craft has played a significant role in cementing the UAE's position as a yacht production hub, and continues to support developments that build the country's credibility on the international marine scene.
Dubai has everything in place to become a global maritime industry hub and to be a centre of excellence for the yachting industry - there is a high degree of wealth, a commitment to the water-based lifestyle and the allure of Dubai as a brand that stands for excellence," said Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft .
"Regulation and integration of the industry are key to establishing international credibility, and the recent announcement of the UAE Yacht Code is a prime example. With these new regulations in place, which is a first-time globally for private superyachts, the UAE is put on the map when it comes to the production of world-class vessels." ART Marine , the Middle East's largest 360 degree leisure yachting enterprise and one of the show's largest annual exhibitors, is also consolidating its presence in the region with its Oman launch and reopening in Egypt.
"We are focused on continuing to forge strategic partnerships and cementing our presence in the countries of the region we believe in, not only for the superyacht market but also for people who want to enter this lifestyle with a smaller, affordable boat. The Dubai International Boat Show is the best platform for us, to announce new projects, new partnerships and the ongoing collaborations with our partners in this ever challenging but promising market," said Gregor Stinner, CEO of ART Marine .
The company will also be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Kleindienst Group - developer of the Heart of Europe at The World Islands, on an exciting yet-to-be-announced cooperation of the two companies at several levels for the unique archipelago, on the second day of the show.
Another UAE-based luxury yacht manufacturer, Al Shaali Marine, will unveil its new USD 5.45 million AS100 model superyacht at the Dubai International Boat Show, which it describes as the first of its kind designed and manufactured in the Middle East.
"The UAE's embrace of innovation and best-in-class technology, which has seen it develop in so many other areas, will help it to become the global market leader in the yachting industry," said Sultan Al Shaali, CEO of Al Shaali Group. "The Dubai International Boat Show will allow us to showcase our offerings to a wider market and help to continue to develop Dubai's maritime industry." With potential first-time boat owners set to make up a large number of the expected visitor turnout, the Dubai International Boat Show has ensured a wide range small to medium sized builders will be participating to showcase a range of crafts that also include speed boats, jet skis, quad skis and other marine leisure products. On display are pleasure craft from return exhibitors Delma Marine, Macky Marine and Ocean Boats, as well as boats in the same range from new show entrants Brodie Boats, Dar Al Tawasel Services, Mercan Yachts, Revolver Yachts and Rio Yachts.
With over 800 companies and brands from 54 countries exhibiting at this year's Dubai International Boat Show, tens of thousands of visitors, from more than 120 countries are expected to attend.
New country participants in 2015 include Djibouti, Indonesia and Luxembourg, while Italy and the USA return as top participating countries, and the event will see 45 global and regional launches over the five days of the show.
New and returning show features draw range of leisure marine enthusiasts New show features include dedicated sections for DIBS Sailing, DIBS Fishing, and DIBS Water Sports - industry areas supporting strong sales growth over the last several years as Gulf states increasingly develop planned communities around an active, on-water lifestyle.
The DIBS Sailing section is designed as an interactive zone, where enthusiasts - from experienced sailors to first-timers - can see boats, brands, equipment and suppliers from across the globe in a relaxed environment.
The DIBS Fishing sector will meet the needs of even the most expert fisherman, allowing them to get specialist technical advice from experts and see the latest technologies and products. DIBS Water Sports is an exciting new show zone dedicated to all related things, from kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, and paddle boarding to surfing, kite surfing, and wind surfing, with a dedicated testing pool for water sports enthusiasts.
Show sectors for this year include Marina Display, Superyacht Life Area, Outdoor Display, Marine Luxury and Lifestyle, Equipment Services and Supplies (ESS), with popular show features including the Supercar Promenade and the Retail Village returning to the show. The Middle East Yachting Conference - the region's largest maritime networking session - will bring together some of the leading industry experts, region's top boat manufacturers, marina operators, in a collaborative knowledge platform. In addition, Marine Talks will offer leisure marine enthusiasts the chance to glean the latest tips, trends and tricks from experts in fishing, diving, sailing and watersports.
The UAE has a strong maritime heritage of dhow construction, ocean commerce, fishing and pearl diving and this tradition has continued with the manufacture of contemporary, state-of-the-art leisure crafts for today's boating market. The UAE Inspired Pavilion is back again with a range of local small to medium boat builders exhibiting this year. The unique pavilion provides an ideal platform for small-to-medium UAE boat builders to increase market exposure.
Dive Middle East Exhibition (DMEX), held in association with Emirates Diving Association, returns with a 42% increase in exhibiting companies and brands.
"As the region's maritime industry expands, and as the UAE consolidates itself as a hub for boating and manufacturing, it is important that the Boat Show evolves and develops alongside it," said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President of DWTC. "By expanding the reach of the Dubai International Boat Show into wider areas of the marine leisure lifestyle we can better serve the needs of exhibitors and the desires of our visitors," she said.
The Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss) will again unite to represent the world's most leading superyacht builders, bringing them together in one dedicated platform at the Superyacht Life Area of the show's Marina Display.
Key returning partners include Italian luxury watch brand Officine Panerai, Mercedes Benz and Emirates Diving Association. Bombardier, the world's only manufacturer of both planes and trains, returns as a Supporting Partner.
A vast array of entertainment and show-stopping prizes are available to marine leisure enthusiasts and members of the public this year.