The recently concluded Yas Marina Boat Festival that took place in Abu Dhabi from October 20 and 21 proved to be a success. A free event, it showcased wide-ranging water sports equipment, jet skis, and other accessories, attracting thousands of visitors and several exhibitors.
Days before the festival, a spokesperson said that it would appeal to everyone from boating enthusiasts to neophytes looking to buy their first vessel and would display a range of new and pre-owned boats. He also noted that yachting experts would be on hand to praise the virtues of life on the ocean.
Bush & Noble, a yacht brokerage that was established five years ago, was one of the exhibitors at the festival. According to partner Brett Noble, an Australian expat who has been based in the UAE for nine years, the industry is in good health and experiencing an upward trend yearly in spite some of the costs involved in owning some of the larger crafts seen in UAE waters.
“You can’t really say with any degree of certainty how many people own yachts in this country,” he said. “And in any case, with the impending closure of the International Marine Club in Dubai, that number is about to fluctuate.”
Noble argued that it would bounce back again when its replacement facility comes on line—the Dubai Harbour presently being built by Dubai-based high-profile developer, Meraas as part of the Bluewaters development. This is set to be the largest marina in the region, and would provide more room for the larger superyachts to moor, and even enable cruise ships to dock.
“That’s when we’ll really see how big the regional yachting business is.”
Dubai Harbour is set to feature a 1,400-berth marina, increasing Dubai’s capacity by 50 percent from its current 3,000 berths. It enables owners of superyachts of up to 85 meters long to dock.