Times have been tough for the boating industry, particularly in Queensland thanks to Cyclone Yasi and the devastating floods that hit the state earlier this year.
Despite those damaging setbacks, the industry has shown it’s made of sterner stuff and the Brisbane Boat Show which closed on Sunday after four excellent days, has attracted plenty of admiration from its more than 100 exhibitors.
More than 400 boats, personal water craft by the score, hundreds of marine engines and an imposing display of marine electronics, fishing tackle and general boating accessories helped attract more than 16,000 people to the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Organiser, Marine Queensland, described the exhibition as boasting 'one of the most diverse displays of product seen in recent years.'
'Given the significant economic challenges and uncertainty surrounding consumer confidence and spending patterns in the community, this year’s Brisbane Boat Show has stood as proof of the passion, strength and determination of the people involved in our industry,' Don Jones, Marine Queensland CEO declared.
'Exhibitors have reported sales and strong leads across all sectors and all types of product; those representing various exhibitors admitted they had to work hard for sales, but again this is testament to the tenacity of the industry,' he added.
Show visitors were treated to a number of new model releases, among them the Sea Jay 5.9, the Cruise Craft Outsider 595, Yamaha’s 242 Limited jet boat and the latest Kawasaki Ultra 300 jet skis.
Prominent exhibitor Greg Haines, managing director of The Haines Group, described it as 'a very good show.'
'Despite visitor numbers being down, boat buyers turned up and all in all it could only be termed a very successful boat show,' he added.
Greg Nickerson, one of the industry’s most respected identities and managing director of Northside Marine, labelled the show as 'a great spectacle.'
'This was as good a trailer boat show as one would expect to see anywhere in Australia,' he said.
'I do feel the sales results were consistent with the local and national economy we are all living with at present, but every show needs to have a balance of short-term buyers and long-term prospects and taking the economy into consideration the show did very well indeed,' he added.
Andrew Bennett, managing director of the Queensland Marine Centre, felt the show was successful and that genuine buyers were in attendance.
'However, creating urgency in the purchasing decision did prove to be quite challenging,' he explained.
'Overall it was a very pleasing result for us; our sales included two 345 Boston Whalers, a range of smaller Whalers, Mastercraft ski boats and some small Sea Rays, so it proved to be a pleasing result in what is a tough, competitive market,' he added.
Appearance-wise, the Brisbane Show certainly looked the part and exhibitors deserve commendation for the effort put into staging their displays.
The floor plan was well done, with ample room for visitors to move through the displays and check out the product.
Other attractions within the show, such as the ‘new look’ Boating and Fishing Stage, the interactive sailing demonstrations presented by Queensland Yachting and the Kid’s Marine Zone all scored high in the popularity stakes.
The sailing lessons proved a winner with the kids with many harnessed into sailing dinghies and taught the basics of sailing.
More than 1000 children took advantage of the fishing clinic and learnt how to catch yabbies, test their casting ability, paint plaster moulds and learn about crabs, sharks and species of fish.
Marine Queensland certainly put the necessary effort into the staging of the 2011 exhibition, with Don Jones and his staff, particularly even manager Jason Plant and marketing and communications officer Nicholle Smith deserving of mention.
The team is now concentrating on their next outing, the Sunshine Coast Marine Festival scheduled for November 19-20.
For further information contact Marine Queensland, telephone 07 3390-4657 or e-mail events(at)marineqld.com.au. Marine Queensland website