Dubai – MENA Herald: Tomorrow (Saturday, March 5) is the last chance to visit the 24th Dubai International Boat Show, bringing together superyachts, small to medium sized family boats, marine accessories, and a host of water sports to try. From the gentle pace of stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking, through to windsurfing and sailing, the underwater adventure of SCUBA diving, and the thrill of jet skiing, the 2016 show is the UAE’s complete marine lifestyle event, with products and activities for everyone who loves the water and wants to make the most of living by the sea.
Water sports and the UAE are a natural fit, and sea-front residential areas have made boat ownership an important part of the nation’s lifestyle for local and expat alike. At the luxury end of the scale, where superyachts stretch to more than 24 metres in length, wealthy residents in the Middle East are more likely to buy than in any other part of the world, while demand for more affordable water craft throughout the region has boomed. Kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and kite surfing have surged in popularity with residents seeking an active outdoor lifestyle, and there is a large market for small boats, partly driven by sports such as wakeboarding and kite surfing.

The Mulcahy family, Dubai residents hailing from Ireland, are definitely in the market for a boat, and are at the show looking for ideas and information. Affordable options carry the most interest for dad, Paul.

“We are here to look around, but we do want to buy a boat later. I also want to take a look at the windsurfers,” said Paul Mulcahy.”

Exhibitors towards the more affordable end of the market are reporting strong interest, and the latest personal watercraft are a popular attraction. MTM, the UAE distributor for Bombardier’s Sea-Doo range, has a solid list of potential customers registering to test the products after the show, while Sea You, which is showing its range of paddleboards, windsurfers, kayaks and sailing dinghies, along with related equipment, is doing a strong trade in on-the-spot sales.

“The customers are very mixed,” says Sea You’s owner, Sterren Bourges. “There are a few locals, and in particular Emiratis like the fishing kayaks, and we are selling lots of paddleboards. We also have people signing up for lessons.”

The range of marine and water sports products on display is stunning. More than 800 companies and brands from 55 countries are exhibiting, many with products never seen before in the Middle East, or in some cases, internationally. Highlights include 39 new boat launches, including 16 global and 23 regional launches – there is even a personal submarine in the Outdoor Display area. Of more than 450 boats and other watercraft on show in Dubai, most are in the small and medium categories, with a wide selection of affordable family cruisers and sports boats to compare. For solo water action, all the main brands of personal watercraft, such as jet skis, have extensive displays, along with retailers of paddle-boards, kayaks, small sailing boats for launching off the beach, fishing rods and accessories, and equipment for kite surfing and windsurfing.

“The Dubai International Boat Show is well known for attracting a stunning array of large private yachts to our Marina Display, but the sea is not an exclusive club,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President of Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of Dubai International Boat Show. “There are so many different ways to enjoy the water, that anyone can find something to suit their taste and budget. The features we’ve added in recent years aim to showcase every section of boating and water sports. In 2016 there are a wide range of activities at the boat show , and more opportunities for visitors to take to the water themselves and try something new.”

Located within the Dubai International Boat Show is the Dive Middle East Exhibition (DMEX), the Middle East’s largest diving exhibition. Run in conjunction with the Emirates Dive Association, DMEX is dedicated to everything under the water, including snorkelling and SCUBA diving. All the UAE’s leading dive shops are represented, offering dive trips and courses for beginners and experienced divers, with extensive product displays featuring the latest equipment.

For a perfect day out, the 2016 Dubai International Boat Show includes an expanded range of food and beverage choices, with new food event Sahtein added to the program. In addition, there are other areas dedicated to pop-up restaurants and gourmet food trucks, offering a wide range of international cuisine in a relaxed outdoor setting, complemented by live evening entertainment.

Getting to Dubai International Boat Show
The 24th Dubai International Boat Show at Dubai International Marine Club – Mina Seyahi is open from 3pm – 9.30pm daily until 5 March 2016, with a single entry ticket cost of AED 60. Free parking is available at Skydive Dubai and the Palm Jumeirah Monorail’s Gateway Station – the multi-story carpark at the entrance to the Palm Jumeirah – with shuttle transfer to the show. The venue is also easily accessible by public transport, with the Dubai Tram’s Mina Seyahi Station immediately outside the gates.