by Tony Castles
Marina experts from around the globe will dock on the Gold Coast next month for Marinas 2007, a major conference that will examine latest trends in the international marina development and operation marketplace.
Location Map for Marinas 2007
The significant marina forum showcases yet another aspect of the massive marine industry sector which employs more than 4,500 people locally and is worth over $550 million per year to the Gold Coast economy.
Jointly hosted by the Marina Industries Association of Australia (MIAA) and the New Zealand Marina Operators Association, Marinas 2007 is set to attract up to 250 worldwide delegates to the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort from May 28 to 30.
Immediately following the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (May 24-27), now one of the biggest boating showcases in the Asia-Pacific region, it will put the Gold Coast firmly in the spotlight as a leading marine industry destination.
Marinas 2007 will present some 30 national and international speakers on topics including marina design, sustainable marina development, management systems and future industry challenges.
The conference has attracted widespread industry and government support and participation, says MIAA director and Runaway Bay Marina general manager, Mike Harvey, who is chair of the Marinas 2007 organising committee.
'Speakers, exhibitors and delegates will converge on the coast from around Australia, Asia-Pacific, Europe, USA, UK, Middle East and South Africa. 'Both Gold Coast City Council and the State Government, through Marine Safety Queensland and the Department of State Development and Trade, are strong backers, recognising the importance of the industry to our region,' he said.
'The level of industry commitment is exceptional, with major sponsorship coming from Bellingham Marine, a global leader in design, manufacture and construction, and the Gold Coast's award-winning producer of marine berthing, boat lift systems and pontoons, Superior Marinas.'
Mr Harvey said international marina equipment, product and service providers have contributed strong sponsorship support, with companies involved including Pacific Softworks,Marathon Products and Waubaushene Pumps from New Zealand, and Marine Travelift Inc, Wiggins Lift Co Inc, and Krause Manufacturing, all USA-based and active worldwide.
Key interstate sponsors d'Albora Marinas, Rocla, Transponder Technologies, insurers IC Frith & Associates, Patron Power, Steelpipes Pty Ltd and Petrolink are joined by local sponsors ClubSource (software) Marine Technologies (service pedestals), and Fox Environmental Systems from the Sunshine Coast.
'The Gold Coast is home to some 14 large-scale marinas and many more smaller berthing and service facilities so it is the ideal destination for a major forum examining the technologies, strategies, issues and trends affecting the industry,' Mr Harvey said.
Keynote speakers include marina management expert and former International Marina Institute president, Larry Halgren from Washington USA, dry storage expert Tim Timpson from South Florida, USA, California-based marina fork lift designer and manufacturer, Mike Wiggins and, from Spain, Oscar Siches, a consultant to marina developers in Europe and Dubai.
Government and marine authority delegates will also be keenly interested in an address by Dr Ed Mahoney from the United States, who recently completed an economic impact study of the marine industry in the Great Lakes and the value of the boating community to that region.
'This will give us a tremendous insight into what the industry is actually worth to coastal and river-based communities and how these communities can best develop their resource for maximum benefit,' Mr Harvey said. 'For marina operators, developers, consultants, suppliers, service providers, government agencies and anyone seeking to broaden their knowledge and contacts in this dynamic sector, Marinas 2007 is an important event.'
The conference will include a field trip to Gold Coast City Marina, which has reported it currently has berthed luxury yachts with a total value in excess of $400 million.