The Queen's birthday weekend saw Melbourne come alive with plenty of recreational activity around Southgate and the Melbourne Conference & Exhibition Centre, which included the 51st annual Melbourne Boat Show.
According to Boating Industry Association Victoria’s General Manager, Clyde Batty the Show attracted a large number of people with an interest in purchasing a new boat or simply upgrading, as well as those looking for a great deal on fishing and marine accessories. Figures suggest that numbers however were down by approximately 10% from last year.
'This was the first time we held the show over the June holiday weekend so we were really pleased with the genuine interest levels of the visitors who came to the event.'
John Haber of Haines Hunter agreed. 'We had a very high number of enquiries about our latest release, the 760R Limited which has been designed for the offshore fisherman, but can easily by customised as a family vessel as well.
'We also found the Show an excellent venue for educating the public about some of the biggest issues at the moment regarding buying vessels, and that is undoubtedly grey imports. People just aren’t aware of the risks involved in buying a grey import. The owner is fully responsible for that vehicle and the onus is on them in regard to registering the vessel which is often difficult.
'Coming to a show like this means the buyer has access to a reputable brand such as ours which is backed up by authorised service centres.'
Interest was also apparent in non-traditional marine vessels such as those produced by Sea-doo. According to Sam Heyes of BRP, watercraft sales are still running strong, regardless of any dips in the industry overall.
'We were showcasing our new RXT-X-260 this year which offers amazing handling features and Advanced Ergonomic Steering, along with a strictly limited number of ‘RS’ editions being made available. There was plenty of interest in the new suspension decks on the Sea-doo watercraft and we were also pleased with the level of interest in our Evinrude products.'
A spokesman for Yamaha Motor Finance noted that there were plenty of people serious about applying for loans.
'We have 4.99% deals going at the moment which was very popular throughout the Melbourne Boat Show,' he said. 'There is no shortage of interest from people wanting to either get in to boating or upgrade.'
Although overall visitor numbers were down slightly, Mr Batty said there was a high level of interest in boating and fishing products on offer. Many good sales were made by exhibitors with genuine enquiries to follow up. The stage activities were also hugely popular and gave the public an opportunity to ask the experts plenty of questions.
Winners of the 2011 Melbourne Boat Show Stand Awards, sponsored by I C Frith & Associates included Parks Victoria (Tourism), Yamaha, Avante Marine, Rolco Boats and best stand was awarded to Hobie cat Australasia.