The Hong Kong Boating Industry Association, a new trade association that represents all sectors of the leisure marine industry, is now up and running.

“The Hong Kong Boating Industry Association (HKBIA) is now legally established and the council will be elected at the inaugural general meeting,” said acting chairman Simon Boyde in a statement issued to IBI.

“It’s remarkable,” said Boyde, “that although Hong Kong has the biggest concentration of pleasure vessels in Asia after Japan, and is undoubtedly a large centre of boating in the region, the industry has no representative association – unlike some of our neighbours. This has now been fixed and around 30 companies have now joined and paid their membership fees.

“Now that we have been legally established, a council will be formed consisting of a chair, deputy chair, secretary, and treasurer, plus eight members (one from each of the Hong Kong marine industry sectors). This leads to the next step, which is the inaugural general meeting, to held soon, when paid up members of the association will elect the officers and appoint industry sector representatives for the eight sectors.”

The eight sectors are:

  • Boat Brokers
  • Boat Charter/Yacht Management
  • Builders/Yards/Manufacturers
  • Chandlers/Distributors
  • Marinas/Clubs/Training Organisations
  • Professional Services/Transportation/Safety Equipment Servicing
  • Technical Services/Repairs/Installations
  • Media/PR

“We believe that it is absolutely essential that the HKBIA be representative of as many companies as possible under the umbrella of the leisure marine industry,” says Louise Connolly, acting treasurer. “The amount of immediate support for the initiative shows that such an association is long overdue for the industry.”

It is intended that the sectors will meet on a monthly basis, and report back to the council. Corporate members of the HKBIA may register with up to two sectors at the time of enlisting. The proposed fee structure is pitched “deliberately low” in order to encourage all companies – big or small – to join the association.

Individual membership has been proposed and details to be determined by the new council, once it has been formed. Only with an appropriate level of inclusiveness and professionalism will the HKBIA be properly recognised both locally and internationally, and be in a position to approach government and other bodies with the authority to speak on behalf of industry participants.

Hong Kong will join five other Marine Industry Associations (MIAs) in the developing boating market in Asia with China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan with already established MIAs. There have been other attempts in the past to form an industry association in Hong Kong, so this inclusive approach to embrace all industry sectors by the HKBIA is welcomed by many industry members in Hong Kong.

A 2017 government breakdown of leisure boat numbers by size shows an interesting growth pattern in Hong Kong with better growth in small boats under 35ft and large yachts over 60ft than in the mid-range, and yachts over 100ft showing the highest increase in numbers at 41%.

Statistics show that boats of up to 35ft in length reached 7,231 units in 2016 – a 27% increase compared to 2012. Boats from 36ft-60ft grew by 8% to 1,758 units during the same period, whereas boats from 61-100ft grew by 18% to 704 units and boats over 100ft grew by 41% to 55 units.

The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club hosted the preliminary meeting, and Ince Law provided pro bono work in helping to set up the association. “With a green light from the industry the future of the pleasure boating industry in Hong Kong is looking very positive indeed,” added Boyde.