Marine firms in the Netherlands reported a healthy 2.5% increase in sales in the first half of 2018, news that lifted spirits at the recent HISWA In-Water Boat Show in Lelystad, near Amsterdam. Strong performance was led by boatbuilders that cater mostly to foreign markets, along with marine equipment suppliers whose products aim to simplify the boating experience while lowering costs for boatbuilders and end-users too. “We’re seeing real growth of 2.5%,” Geert Dijks, director of Dutch industry association HISWA, told IBI on the show’s opening day. “That’s a lot and makes this year look very promising.” That said, the picture is far from perfect. HISWA represents some 900 members across a dozen sectors, including yards, marinas, charterers, naval architects, sailing schools and repair and refit services, and not everyone is enjoying growth. Dijks told IBI that there’s a surplus of empty moorings at Dutch marinas, and that new boats from 9m-14m (29ft-46ft) are difficult to sell – particularly sailing yachts, which require a certain level of nautical expertise.