LEEUWARDEN _ True to tradition, Boot Holland (Feb. 8-13) opend a new boating season with a hefty line-up of craft from 250 Dutch and foreign yards. As always, steel yachts enjoy pride of place. There’ll be a record 40 of them this year, from 9 to 17m, lining a big dock at the indoor event.
Visitors _ especially from Germany’s populous Ruhr area only 200 kms (124 mi away) _ expect nothing less. Dutch builders specialize in steel, a material that gives them the freedom to customize dayboats, motor cruisers and superyachts to a great degree.
In 2019, visitors can expect new stuff here and other shows in the Netherlands and beyond.
The video revolution, new technologies, digital marketing and demographic shifts are changing boating patterns and trade as the ‘Grow Boating’ movement goes global. Shows are casting their nets wider to reel in new audiences as old ones gray and fade. They go for family fun and do-and-see stuff, offer training courses to get newcomers into the boating trade and reach out to houseboat lovers.
Boot Holland’s inaugural Recreation Pavilion will host marinas, charterers, boating regions and vendors of camping, hotel and lifestyle activities. HISWA Holland Marine, the Dutch trade lobby, promotes new holiday, ownership and rental formulas to end the graying of boaters that is emptying Dutch marinas. It is merging with the Dutch tourism sector lobby to tap new markets.
The March 6-10 HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show will feature boating regions with hotel deals and other activities that mesh nicely with boating. It will have an InnovationLab where start-ups show alternative boat trade business models, 3D-printed tenders, their work on shifting to fully electric boating or how they help youngster’s do better at school through sailing. The Amsterdam show’s Start-Up Lane was fully booked by late 2018.