The Wind & Water boat show in Gdynia, the sailing capital of Poland, concluded on Sunday with the organisers reporting that 12,000 visitors attended the four-day event. The show, which IBI attended last week, is held on water and attracts mainly Polish visitors.

This year boatbuilders reported growing interest from the local market, fuelled by a growing economy with increasing consumer disposable income for pursuits such as boating.

The show featured 130 exhibitors and 120 boats on the water, together with equipment and service exhibitors in tented halls around the Gdynia Marina. There was an increase in exhibition space sold, 15% more than the 2017 edition of the show.

During the show the potential of the Polish yachting industry was explored by the 12 participants of an inward mission study tour – with potential business partners and journalists from the boating industry including Russia and the UAE.

Michal Bak, secretary general of Polboat, the Polish marine industry association, told IBI: “As part of the mission, many business meetings took place with industry representatives, boatbuilders and champions of watersports from Poland. The group also participated in tests of boats at the show as well as presentations about the industry and a press conference. This took place over an intensive three-day program and resulted in good business relationships being established with the Polish boating Industry.”

For the ninth time the Gdynia President's Award was awarded during the Gdynia Yacht Design competition 2018. The title of the most beautiful sailing yacht was won by NFUN 30, with the Galeon 485HTS winning the motoryacht category.

The marine industry in Poland is geared towards the export of boats from 5m-9m. This year, total production is targeted to reach 22,000 units, of which 95% is exported. This makes Poland the second largest manufacturer of boats in this size range in the world, second only to the US.

However, it is clear to IBI after visiting this year’s event in Gdynia, a show targeted at the domestic market, that demand and interest from local customers is growing. Besides its Baltic coastline, Poland has a considerable network of rivers and large lakes, mainly in the northeast which are very popular for leisure boating. While there are no accurate figures of the size of the leisure boat fleet in Poland, industry sources estimate there are between 50,000 to 70,000 leisure boats of all sizes.

The Wind & Water show is organised by Murator Expo in partnership with Zagle magazine with the support of Polboat.