HISWA Holland Yachting Group’s 26 members at crossroads

Suddenly, in its 50th anniversary year, HISWA Holland Yachting Group’s (HHYG) 26 members are at a fork in the road. Either stay in the lobby of Dutch superyacht makers and suppliers or join the much bigger Netherlands Maritime Technology (NMT) lobby.

Some large yards that have cancelled their membership were already NMT members, says HHYG export director Jeroen Sirag.

“It’s crucial for the Dutch superyacht sector to stay together,” he added. “A split would be a bad thing.” HHYG’s membership comprises 11 builders and 15 suppliers. NMT has 400 members.

HHYG’s future has been in the balance since the umbrella HISWA watersports lobby agreed to merge with the Netherlands’ leisure industry, generating a sense that the merger makes odd bedfellows of camping gear makers and builders of superyachts, some costing more than €100m.

“It’s not about the quality of our services,” says Sirag.

“HHYG has a robust export promotion program and campaign that comprises many new, innovative projects. A recent member survey showed an 80% approval rating for our products, services, programs and campaigns.”

HHYG members have an October 1 membership renewal deadline. If some members want to stay within the HISWA family “our complete export portfolio and various campaign elements [for 2020] can no longer be carried out.”

Sirag regretted NMT was unwilling to create a “joint export program for the superyacht yards, shipbuilders and maritime suppliers.”

Marcel van der Spek, founding partner of Dutch decking specialist Esthec and current HHYG president, told IBI at the Monaco Yacht Show he expected all HHYG members to shift to NMT.

NMT has said its “strategic” linkup with Dutch superyacht builders “will mainly focus on global branding and export promotion of the superyacht-building industry [and strengthen] the entire Dutch maritime manufacturing industry.