58th edition includes over 100 professional meetings

Sustainability in the leisure marine industry is the key focus of the 2019 Barcelona Boat Show, which is now in its 58th edition. The theme is complementary to the show also reflecting the recovery of the boating sector with 7% growth in 2018.

Spain’s most important and largest marine recreational event is being held on the Moll d’Espanya and Moll de la Fusta in the city’s Port Vell. It runs from October 9-13 and is organised by Fira de Barcelona in partnership with ANEN (the Spanish National Association of Sailing Companies). The 58th edition comprises some 290 exhibitors and 700 craft, of which 180 will be displayed on water.

Under the sustainability theme, a conference called ‘Let’s take care of the Sea’ will be held on October 11 to address the impact of boating activity and the measures that can be employed to minimise the issue of waste in the world’s oceans. The conference will include a presentation on the ‘10 points of sustainable sailing’.

Supporting this theme, the Barcelona show features a number of hybrid and solar-powered boats as well as innovations designed to collect underwater microplastics and products made from recycled materials. The show also plans to take steps in the future to reduce its environmental footprint.

“We in the sailing community are the ones with the greatest interest in protecting the environment in which we engage in one of our greatest passions,” says show president Luis Conde. “Sea lovers cannot stand idly by in the face of the degradation of our seas and oceans. The Barcelona Boat Show wanted to be the first to take the helm of sustainability.”

Included in the show are three 100% electric boats:

  • The 8m (26ft) X Shore Electric Eelex 8000 with a range of 100Nm
  • The Naviwatt ZenPro 580, an electric RIB with a range of up to 13 hours
  • The 4m (13ft) Narke GT45, which is said to be the world’s first electric jetski

The show also includes the first catamaran from Ibiza-based La Belle Verde, a 10m (34ft) craft that is powered by sails and two solar-powered electric motors. The catamaran has a central net which is lowered into the sea to collect solid objects from the water. Another debut is SB Buoy, a submerged buoy inspired by the manta ray and made from natural composite materials. This buoy has the capacity to filter out microplastics but allows plankton to pass through.

Further to its sustainability theme, the show highlights the 12 key features that the optimal sustainable boat should have – from electric and hybrid engines, solar panels and non-toxic antifouling for the marine environment, to automated control of optimising energy consumption and GPS positioning.

Running alongside the sustainability theme is the 200 or so professional meetings that are being held during the event. These include the first ‘La Mar en Femenino Forum’ highlighting the role of women in the marine leisure sector, and the third edition of the Nautic Tech International Investment Forum, which is specific for start-ups in the boating and yachting sector.

All this is against the background of an estimated 9% growth in the Spanish marine leisure market based on registrations in the first nine months of the year compared with the corresponding period of 2018. Carlos Sanlorenzo, secretary general of ANEN, says: “This data reflects the current stability of the boating sector, which provides €4.822bn to GVA (gross value added) and generated 82,345 jobs (including direct + indirect + induced) and is strategic to promote quality nautical tourism in Spain.”

Promoting sailing to new audiences is another ambition of the Barcelona Boat Show, as reflected in a wide ranging and diverse programme of events for the general public and families. Under the ‘Sea Lovers’ slogan, the Barcelona World Race IMOCA 60 school boat will be available for boarding throughout the show so that visitors can experience what it is like to sail in an 18.3m (60ft) competition sailing yacht. This is thanks to collaboration by the Barcelona show with the Barcelona Oceanic Navigation Foundation (FNOB). Linked to this, the Catalan Sailing Federation stand presented information to both young and old about competitive sailing.