At the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, the Chairman of the Boating Industries Alliance Australia, Darren Vaux, today outlined a range of initiatives aimed at growing the participation in recreational boating. The Alliance which was formed in February, 2011 is the peak body for the Boating Industry in Australia and represents all the state Boating Industry Associations and Marine Queensland on national issues.
Mr Vaux highlighted a number of challenges being experienced by the boating industry including:
1. Restrictive state and federal government policy making access to waterways more difficult and overregulation of boating activities
2. Economic Uncertainty and the high Australian dollar making difficult conditions for local manufacturers and sales.
3. Tighter competition for the leisure dollar from competing industries including tourism
A significant example of these challenges is the dramatic rise in “grey” import boats driven by the strong Australian dollar. These new and second hand boats that are being privately imported are subject to minimal restrictions and are likely to create significant problems for consumers and industry alike in the years to come due to non-compliance with Australian standards. The Alliance has mobilised a consumer awareness campaign to assist boaters in understanding the issues.
Mr Vaux highlighted the fact that industry and government alike are served by a vibrant and growing recreational boating industry. “To achieve significant and sustained growth in the boating industry we need to develop an interest in boating in children from a young age, nurture and enhance the experience of boating for existing boaters and provide easy pathways for non-boaters to experience the boating lifestyle” said Vaux. “To achieve this we have developed a multi-tier schools strategy for both junior and high Schools aimed at introducing kids to boating, developing their interest in boating and providing career pathways into the industry. Our National Boat Club strategy will create a
centralised communication channel for the industry and boaters which will deliver benefits to both parties.
Our experience programs like Try Sailing, Try Crewing and Try Boating will get non-boaters out on the water and our boat shows will continue to deliver the world class display of the best of the industry that they are renowned for” he said
The industry is also focussed on ensuring the interests of the industry and boaters are recognised by government. The
Alliance outlined it’s advocacy strategy to government including:
1. Promotion and protection of the access to waterways and associated infrastructure
2. Promotion of commercially viable relationships with Government landlords 3. Promote safe boating and a safe industry through education not regulation 4. Promote environmentally sustainable practices in boating and the boating
The Alliances Strategy has been developed with the support of all state boating associations. Don Jones, CEO of Marine Queensland said ”The BIAA represents the cooperative efforts of each existing State Association. Our core objective with the creation of the BIAA is to build a powerful national representative organisation. Our priorities are to not only address many of the challenges facing this industry but to map a pathway for the ongoing growth and development of the industry across the nation.“
The Alliance will be rolling out a series of programs over the next twelve months.