Sales sizzle and sentiment at the Melbourne Boat Show

Melbourne sizzles for sales and sentiment

The 2009 Melbourne International Boat and Lifestyle Show has concluded with rave reviews from visitors and positive feedback from dealers and boat brands.

Held at Docklands, 30 January to 1 February, during Melbourne’s hottest heat wave in over 100 years, the event attracted crowds in their droves – in spite of the soaring temperatures.

Boating Industry Association (BIA) of Victoria general manager Robert Coco said exact attendance figures wouldn’t be available for a few weeks, but he was optimistic numbers were up on last year.

“I’ve surveyed more than 20 on-water exhibitors whose gut feeling is that, despite the 45 degree heat – which was surely the worst way to start any event – there were more visitors to the show than in previous years,” Mr Coco said.

“More importantly, they said the people who came to the show were genuine buyers… exhibitors sold plenty of boats and have trials booked for the next few weeks.” On the opening day, as Melbourne sweltered in temperatures in the mid-40s and the city suffered black outs, just a few hundred people visited the marina, but Mr Coco said there was “incredibly strong interest among some serious, genuine boat buyers”.

“You wouldn’t have gone on Friday if you weren’t intending to buy… the positive in this was that exhibitors had time to speak with genuine prospects, without too many people crowding the marina.”

Visitor numbers improved over the weekend, with milder temperatures in the mid-30s. Mr Coco said by the end of the show exhibitors were “blown away”.

“We’re speaking with exhibitors now about ROI and, so far, it seems they are very impressed,” he said.

“As the first boat show for the year, we’re thrilled… a lot of people will be looking at this show as an indicator for consumer sentiment for the year ahead.”

The show’s early results have well and truly put paid to the myth that people visiting the Melbourne International Boat & Lifestyle Show ‘window shop’, and then go on to buy at other shows later in the year.

The dealers and brands I’ve spoken with are elated with their sales and very positive about sales leads – they have nothing but praise for the show,” Mr Coco said.

“Melbourne – and its boat shows – is benefiting from a state-wide boating boom, on the back of Victorian government investment in boating infrastructure.

“Jeff Kennett kicked it off all those years ago with the Southbank precinct… now we’re starting to see people really turning to the water, seeking waterfront living in projects like Docklands and other developments, and pushing into Port Phillip, Western Port and Gippsland… Victoria is finally capitalising on its great ‘marine’ potential!

“We have several new marinas in the pipeline, including the 1000-berth marina at Wyndham Harbour (with provision for six superyachts), 25 minutes’ drive from the CBD… people who think Victoria is just a tinnie market need to have a rethink – there is massive potential across the product spectrum in the Victorian market.”

Further information: Boating Industry Association of Victoria – (03) 8696 5600 or visit: