After two no-show years, In-Water HISWA returns, bigger than ever

LELYSTAD – The coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the In-Water HISWA Show in 2020 and 2021. But this year, it returns (Aug. 31 through Sept. 4) more significant than ever.

“After two lost Corona years, it’s nice to see water sports companies … signing up en masse for the event,” says Arjen Rahusen, the In-Water HISWA show Director. The Batavia Haven in Lelystad –  located in the heart of the Netherlands, close to the German market – will show a record 330 boats. Crucially, the show has shifted its focus as the boating sector embraces new technologies, caters to different tastes and combats a shortage of skilled labor.

Sales Manager Alex Hoeve says, “many new initiatives have been developed. We see more and more boats designed specifically for electric sailing. Only monohull sailing yachts are lagging behind a bit.”

The 2022 In-water show features more new launches, especially in aluminum tenders,  a fast-growing segment in the Netherlands.

A central theme is Dutch craftsmanship in boat and yacht building. The Dutch sector has a solid global reputation but is seen as weak in marketing. To help fix that, the In-Water Show has set aside a ‘Career Day’ to recruit talent for skilled jobs across the industry. The HISWA-RECRON trade lobby says the Dutch sector’s “labor market is currently very tight and will remain so in the coming years.”

The career day aims to position the boating sector as a growing industry. It encourages people to pursue, at a minimum, a vocational degree in yacht building, painting, interior design/furniture making or yacht brokerage.

The 37th In-Water HISWA will feature info points directing visitors to exhibitors of specific boats, products and services. “T0 make their visits more efficient. It’s all about advising and orienting visitors,” says Hoeve.

Also new: a “VIP Boulevard” showing anything over 15m and costing more than €1 million. Hoeve: “This is where the big yachts and trendy tenders will be. It’s a special target group that merits special services. Like, VIP parking, a private show entrance, a welcome from people who know boats and speak several languages.”

The In-Water HISWA shows how the Dutch sector is becoming more professional,  dealing with new, complex technologies. Over the years, the first contact with a client has become more critical, says Hoeve.

“The show used to be primarily about boats. The fact that exhibitors are builders with dealerships came second. Now, companies profile themselves more thoroughly. And rightly so! When you buy a yacht, the first contact must feel right and make clear the company is solid and assure clients their deposits go into the boats they ordered.”