This year saw a 17.5% rise in boat displays

The 2018 HISWA in-Water Boat Show, which ran from September 5-9 in Lelystad in the Netherlands, was a textbook example of how the industry can remain relevant and lure visitors with interesting displays and activities in a compelling setting.

Close to 300 new boats, including 80 premiere showings. Some 23,000 visitors. A semi-circular marina on a large lake as a venue for match racing and other clinics, all-day live music, test rides, Optimist races, a Village hosted by Raymarine, Vetus, Mastervolt and other suppliers, a ‘Trawlerfest’ hosted by three Dutch trawler makers…

“The HISWA in-Water is Europe’s only show with such a large variety of boats in their natural habitat,” says Liane Jansen, head of communication at HISWA Holland Marine Industry. “This year we saw a 17.5% rise in boat displays.”

Not hurting the show any was parking for €3 a day, offsite restaurants around the corner, a massive outlet mall up the road and a life-size replica of a 17th century East India trader. The show, held in Amsterdam in recent years, has moved east, closer to Germany, a big market for the Dutch industry.

“This is how a boat show should be,” says Paul Hameeteman of Nova Yachting. Attending a boat show “remains important to me”, Ronald van Enkhuizen, a maker of classic sailing and motor yachts, told IBI. “Especially, an in-water show. It lets visitors truly experience boating.”

During the show, HISWA Holland Marine Industry reported a 2.5% first-half growth rate. “2.5% is a lot and makes this year look very promising,” says HISWA director Geert Dijks. His group represents some 900 members across a dozen sectors, including yards, marinas, charterers, naval architects, sailing schools and repair and refit services.

The 2019 HISWA In-Water Boat Show will return to Lelystad – a town 40 km east of Amsterdam, built on land reclaimed from the sea – from September 4-8.