Covid 19 hits the Boating Industry again with the BIA (Boating Industry Australia) cancelling the Sydney Festival of Boating which was set to run from the 29th of July to the 1st of August. Already a scaled-down version of the Sydney International Boat Show, the Festival of Boating could not go ahead with Sydney facing an extended lockdown period.
“We were excited to be showing the latest in DOCKPROs dry docking technology,” said Mark Barber, CEO of DOCKPRO. “Unfortunately, Covid strikes again, and the BIA board had to consider the latest information from the NSW government concerning Covid and how it was affecting Sydney.”
DOCKPRO had planned to showcase their renowned SeaPen. An innovative dry docking system that recently won the Gold Coast Excellence in Business Award for Innovation. “The Sydney Festival of Boating was something the team were really excited to be a part of as the festival was sold out regarding exhibition space,” said Mark.
“The BIA believed the responsible action was to weigh up the facts, liaise with stakeholders such as our members, government and the venue partner, the International Convention Centre, and to make a decision this week,” said Darren Vaux, BIA President.
“Cancelling the event supports government efforts to get the current outbreak of COVID-19 and its highly contagious Delta variant under control. It also recognises the likely challenges that our local and interstate members and exhibitors will encounter over the coming weeks.
“Our priority was to deliver a celebration of the boating lifestyle and to do so in a COVID Safe way for our members, suppliers, exhibitors and public.”
“It was a difficult decision to cancel the event, especially as there was such strong industry support,” Vaux said.
Boating has proved to be a prevalent choice amid the pandemic. With no international travel on the horizon, and the ability to work flexibly from home has ignited the “staycay” phenomenon. This choice has seen a dramatic increase in people investing in the boat they have put off OR upgrading their current toys.
Amid times where social distancing and being Covid Safe is nothing short of paramount, boating has proven very popular.
“Obviously, we are disappointed the event isn’t going ahead, but we understand the decision and hope that Sydney residents will be out of lockdown as soon as possible,” said Barber. “We also want to ensure our team are safe so that we can keep up with current demand!”
The BIA said they recognise the challenges that local and interstate members and exhibitors are encountering right now. So, instead of the festival, the BIA will promote boating as a lifestyle choice by adopting a version of the Discover Boating initiative launched last year by the US-based National Marine Manufacturers Association. They hope to make it easier for people to look at boating as a lifestyle, whether new to boating, coming back to it or a seasoned boater.
So far, the 2021 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show is the only show to be successfully held this year. As for next year, it’s a waiting game. It isn’t yet clear if the BIA will hold a festival for Sydney or a return to the international boat show format. Either way, we here at DOCKPRO can’t wait to be a part of it! Stay tuned!