June 5, 2017

From 22 – 27 May 2017, Australia’s sunshine State, Queensland, played host to ‘International Boating Week’, which featured some of the country’s leading marine events including the Australian Marine Export and Superyacht Conference (ASMEX), the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show – and the IFBSO/ICOMIA Joint Congress.

The International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) Congress, held 25 – 27 May in Australia’s Gold Coast, was hosted and organised by ICOMIA member the Boating Industry Association (BIA).

As the voice of Australia’s recreational and light commercial marine industry, BIA promotes safe, recreational boating as a positive and rewarding lifestyle for Australians.

The first day of Congress featured workshops held by ICOMIA’s Marine Industry Association (MIA) members; from which a highlight was a presentation by Geert Dijks, Managing Director of HISWA Holland Marine Industry on the role and relevance of an MIA.

Using HISWA’s innovative ‘Marine Industry 3.0’ as a case study, Dijks explained the different demands and alternative business models that could future proof MIAs; resulting in a powerful brand that members can harness.

Day one ended with a welcome reception featuring a remote-control boat time trial held in the pool of the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, with each delegate’s country represented by a boat sporting their nation’s flag!

Day two began with a keynote address from Mr Roy Wakelin-King, a prominent leader in Australia’s taxi industry. Mr Wakelin-King discussed new digital business models and their possible effects, and opportunities, for traditional boating industry models.

Focusing on the ‘sharing’ economy model, he explored its driving forces, policy principles and the possible impact of technology enabled disruption on the boating industry – and what the industry might do in response to these challenges.

Later that day delegates toured the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show, the Telwater Factory and Coomera Marine Precinct. Telwater is the largest boat manufacturer in the Southern Hemisphere with leading aluminium brands including Quintrex, Stacer, Savage and Yellowfin Plate boats. The Gold Coast Marine Precinct in Coomera is a marine industry industrial area, dedicated to manufacture, servicing, repair and refit of recreational boats.

For dinner that evening, delegates took a short cruise on a 32-meter catamaran to the hidden tropical island paradise of McLarens Landing on South Stradbroke Island.

The final day of Congress featured the ‘Australian Industry Showcase’, with several of Australia’s key leisure marine representatives providing insight into the country’s thriving and unique industry.

The Showcase was kicked off by Simon Cook, ICOMIA Vice-President and BIA Director, followed by Andrew Chapman, President of the Marina Industries Association – which specialises in education, research and accreditation of marinas in Australia, Asia and the South Pacific regions.

Next, MaryAnne Edwards, CEO of the Australian International Marine Export Group gave an overview of Australian marine export and superyacht industries. Then Domenic Genua, the National Manger of BIA’s Member Events and Marketing, gave delegates an update on their current boat shows.

Damien Duncan, Director of Sales and Marketing of Telwater and Richard Appleby, COO of Riviera, the largest and most awarded luxury boat building company in Australia, provided industry insight on boat manufacture.
Finally, Howard Glenn, BIA’s national CEO, gave delegates an overview of the association’s background, current projects and future plans.

“BIA represents the industry to Federal, State and Local Government departments and agencies, as well as other industry bodies, corporate interests, allied organisations, media and the general public” explained Glenn. “We are extremely proud of our leisure marine industry in Australia and have welcomed the opportunity to provide this snapshot to ICOMIA’s global community and showcase what our industry has to offer”.

The closing meeting of Congress 2017 was the 51st ICOMIA Annual General Meeting (AGM), where HISWA’s Geert Dijks was invited to join the Executive Committee, ICOMIA’s governing board, in place of Jorge Nasseh of the Brazilian Marine Manufacturers Association (ACOBAR) who recently retired.

Congress concluded with a spectacular Gala Dinner, which was held at the Sheraton Resort and featured live music and a chance to meet some Australian wildlife.

DrHuju, ICOMIA’s President said: “On behalf of ICOMIA I would like to thank BIA for hosting and organising one of the most informative and exotic congresses in recent memory. I’d also like to thank the Marina Industry Association and AIMEX for their involvement in this year’s programme”.

Next year’s ICOMIA Congress will be held 6 – 8 June 2017 in Berlin, Germany and will be hosted by ICOMIA’s member, International Marine Certification Institute (IMCI).

For more info on ICOMIA visit
For more info on BIA visit

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