Future Marine Queensland run boat shows could be destined to be held on the water if the results of the inaugural Sunshine Coast Marine Festival are anything to go by.
They came from as far as Sydney to the Mooloolaba Marina last weekend to enjoy everything from fishing demonstrations to finding out the very latest in outboards keeping all 47 exhibitors busy fielding questions and handing out advice.
Marine Queensland’s Event Manager Jason Plant said whether it was kayaks or yachts on the water or off – there was a boat for every lifestyle and budget at the Festival.
'This is an enormous success for both the marine industry and us as a marine body,' Mr Plant said.
'The decision to create a special Sunshine Coast Marine Festival was part of Marine Queensland’s continued strategy to increase promotion of local marine industry and is a direct response to outcomes from our Marine Industry Summit earlier in the year.
'We started planning this event three months ago in response to requests from Marine Queensland’s members to have an opportunity to showcase their product before the year’s end.
'The success is a tribute to the tremendous support and involvement from local dealers and manufacturers who threw themselves behind this event to get it up and running. We are confident that this event has definite place on our annual events calendar for years to come.
Festival highlights included the new release 2012 Four Winns and the newly released, award winning 150Hp Mercury, on water
displays from Nautitech, Seawind Catamarans and Fountaine Pajot and the recently launched Boat Fish Nav application.
Adding to the community spirit of the event, Yachting Queensland coordinated a Sailing Expo which ran along the Marina’s waterfront.
Yachting Queensland’s John Belsham said the sailing expo allowed for representation from all the local sailing clubs with the added bonus of visitors getting the chance to actually sample a short sailing trip across the Mooloolah River.
'Not only did we have boat displays on the water but this was a fantastic chance for us to introduce sailing to those who have never considered it before,' Mr Belsham said.
'We find that once people are on the boats and out on the water they wonder why it’s taken them so long to discover sailing.'
Mooloolaba Yacht Brokers’ Ross Smith said the event delivered above and beyond expectation.
'We were sceptical at first as to the value of the festival to our business since we specialise in higher end boats, cruisers and yachts,' Mr Smith said.
'From past experience boat shows on the coast have centred on the trailer boat market but we are the first to admit we are very pleasantly surprised with the weekend’s results. We had people on the boats from as far as North Queensland and Sydney who had heard about the festival and had made the trip to Mooloolaba for the event. We are looking forward to following up now on the weekend’s leads.'
Managing director of JD’s Boat Shed, Mark Taylor credited the festival’s success to location.
'This was as good an event as any we have attended this year but it was the location of this event that made it special, separating it from the pack,' Mr Taylor said.
'Being set on the water with plenty of activity happening along the river helps people appreciate the lifestyle they are buying into when they get a boat. We had plenty of serious enquiries across the weekend and have a busy few weeks ahead of us now.'
Marine Queensland is now busy planning for the 2012 Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show, on March 23-25 at Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds. For more information visit www.tinnieandtackle.com.au