The keynote speaker for Day 2 of the Dubai International Superyacht Summit was H.E. Saeed Mohammed Hareb, chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, advisor to the Dubai International Boat Show, and a leading figure in the leisure marine industry in Dubai.
His Excellency focussed his address on how Dubai developed its port infrastructure nearly 50 years ago, which in turn has led to development of marinas and a leisure boating infrastructure. This was all due to the guidance and vision of the then ruler Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum, whose name carries on with the main commercial port in Dubai – Port Rashid, now being transformed into a leisure boating marina and lifestyle hub.
H.E. Hareb summed up his address, saying: “Our challenge is to keep Dubai as the main hub for marine leisure activities and racing in the Middle East”.
The theme of the second day of the summit was ‘yacht services and administration’. A key presentation was made by Khalid Ali Meftah from the Dubai Maritime City Authority, who announced the Sea Dubai project – an initiative designed to make leisure boating more user-friendly in Dubai.
The challenges and opportunities operating under the UAE flag registration were described by Walid Altamimi from Tasneef, the marina registration and licensing authority in Dubai, with a key takeaway for the delegates:
“The market in Dubai is changing away from predominately small boats to larger yachts.”
Engel De Boer from Lloyds Registry outlined some the challenges of yacht classification in the Middle East and explained how the market is changing for larger yachts. “The demographics of superyacht owners and charterers is changing,” he said. “There are more customers under the age of 40 and their requirements are different. They are more interested in having fun on the water in small power and sail boats and personal watercraft. This means we have to accommodate the storage and launching facilities for these craft.
"There is also a growing requirement by customers of all age groups to travel to more remote places. This has driven increasing interest in expedition-style superyachts.”
As on the first day, the summit closed on a positive note. Most delegates see the summit as a regular platform to raise problems and solutions to leisure boating in the Middle East.