UAE-based boatbuilder Gulf Craft announced a move into the megayacht market during a press conference at the Dubai International Boat Show this week.

Gulf Craft chairman H.E. Mohammed Al Shaali said: “Two years ago we announced that we will build two new superyacht models, 175’ and 200’. The 175’ is well advanced and should be completed in 2019. The news I have is that we will move to steel and aluminium in order to build megayachts. This is a move from our previous policy to stick to fiberglass. This is a move that has been driven by customer demand for larger yachts.”

H.E. Mohamed turned to the subject of boat shows and local market issues, saying: “We are always glad to be part of the Dubai International Boat Show, which is the most important event for us in the global boat show calendar to launch our new products and promote our existing ones. This year we have two new models and our 140’ Majesty superyacht, together with most of our other models on display.

“We receive many visitors at the show not only from the GCC market but from all over the world. We also exhibited in the past year in four European boat shows, Cannes, Dusseldorf, Monaco and Istanbul as well as Singapore and Phuket in Asia and Sydney in Australia with good results. However, DIBS is still a priority. We have the issue of VAT introduced this year in the UAE and it’s uncertain how this will affect the market but by the end of the show we will know.”

The UAE introduced VAT in 2018 at a rate of 5% across a wide range of products and services, including boats and marine equipment.