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Sydney Festival of Boating cancelled - Australian newsletter

by Peter Rendle 1 Jul 15:00 PDT
2021 Sydney Festival of Boating © BIA

For consecutive years the Sydney industry showcase of marine industry products has been affected by the the global Covid pandemic. A local cluster leading to a two-week shutdown throughout Greater Sydney was enough for the Boating Industry of Australia (BIA) to cancel the Festival of Boating, which was scheduled to run from 29 July to 1 August.

The BIA board held an extraordinary meeting to consider the latest information from the government affecting the Sydney event, and determined cancellation was the appropriate decision at this time. BIA President Darren Vaux said the decision was made more difficult because the Sydney Festival of Boating was sold-out regarding exhibition space and was oversubscribed for the event marina.

Meanwhile NSW Maritime appreciates that many boaters and community members have questions about the public health orders and how they relate to water-based activities. From 26 June 2021, NSW Government Public Health Orders have been updated, requiring people in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour) to stay at home until 11.59pm on Friday, 9 July 2021 unless they have a 'reasonable excuse'. View the latest rules for NSW.

Unless you have an essential need to be out - stay home. A 'reasonable excuse' to leave your home to use your vessel could be for exercise and outdoor recreation (e.g. kayaking/sailing/paddling/fishing etc); get to and from work, where the work cannot reasonably be performed from home; get groceries; and to provide assistance, care or support to an immediate member of the family.

Travel and social distancing restrictions during the pandemic have contributed to the current rise in recreational and leisure boating activities. With business booming within the superyacht industry, it is has led to an increase in demand for skilled workers and new employment opportunities.

Finding the right job opportunity in the marine industry has not always been easy until now with the new 'Marine Jobs' website launch. This unique online career centre is the new 'go-to website', with positions ranging from boat brokers to sailmakers to superyacht crew. Unlike other job search websites, it is specifically dedicated to the marine industry. Set up as a joint venture by the Marina Industries Association (MIA) in partnership with the Boating Industry Association (BIA) and Superyacht Australia (SYA), Marine Jobs combines employers and job seekers within the marine industry in one dedicated online location for the first time.

A major takeover was announced this week. US-based Brunswick Corporation announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Navico, a global leader in marine electronics and sensors for $1.05 billion. As a result of this acquisition, Brunswick will add the industry leading brands of Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, and C-MAP to its Advanced Systems Group (ASG), which includes the leading Parts & Accessories (P&A) brands in power management, digital control and monitoring, and networked devices.

"The acquisition of Navico and its award-winning brands will immediately accelerate Brunswick's ACES (Autonomy, Connectivity, Electrification and Shared-Access) strategy, and support our vision to deliver distinctive new products and technology-enabled experiences," said Dave Foulkes, Brunswick Corporation CEO. "We will continue to invest both in organic initiatives and acquisitions to maintain our position of global product leadership, and the addition of Lowrance, Simrad, B&G and C-MAP to our existing brand portfolio will further strengthen our ability to provide complete, innovative digital solutions to consumers and comprehensive, integrated systems offerings to our OEM customers."

Partnership deals include Flagstaff Marine who have partnered with Tecnica Rib Marine, the Australian importer for Lomac RIBS, and are pleased to introduce the Italian Lomac brand of Rigid Inflatables (RIBs) to Australia. Lomac have been producing RIBS for over 60 years and are highly regarded within the European market. They have a range covering some 58 different models under five brands: the top-of-the-line Gran Turismo, the high-performance Adrenalina, the specialist fishing Big Game and the family day boats and tenders, under the IN and OK brands. Their RIBS range in size from 2.5 m to 14.5 metres and all are made to CE Certification with high quality UV resistant neoprene tubes.

Product developments involve a new material that is able to replace internal leather upholstery. Experienced silicone product manufacturer General Silicones (GS) shares how its Compo-SiL® technology is a green alternative to toxic leather and leatherette materials used for marine upholstery. The extreme environment of the marine environment so far required upholstery companies to rely on faux leather products based on expanded vinyl.

Unfortunately, those products are a mix of vinyl plastic and a high percentage of PVC, a plastic notorious for its toxicity during manufacturing, disposal, and as a microplastic source. Michael Lin, CEO of GS, said: "The unique chemistry of silicone rubber makes it a green and ideal material for extreme outdoor environments. I'm proud to see how our Compo-SiL® adhesion technology allows bringing those advantages to the nautical world."

Locally the strength of the industry is illustrated by developments at Riviera, Australia's luxury motor yacht builder, who hosted a record 330 people to an information evening and site tour of its state-of-the-art Gold Coast facility, as part of the company's apprenticeship recruitment drive for 2022. The tour, held annually by Riviera in collaboration with local schools and employment service providers, was attended by students, parents, teachers and industry liaison officers who were advised of the many marine industry career opportunities currently available. Riviera has significantly expanded its boatbuilding team over the past year by 30 per cent to more than 800 working on site.

People in the news this week includes a promotion at Harken Australia. Harken Inc announced the promotion of Harken Australia's Managing Director, Grant Pellew, to additionally serve as Managing Director of its Harken New Zealand operations. This decision is part of a larger reorganization to centralize leadership between Harken's Australian and Kiwi markets. Pellew replaces outgoing Harken veteran Robbie Young, who - after 15 years as Hydraulics Manager and NZ Managing Director - is retiring from his career at Harken.

Over the past year, Harken New Zealand has invested significantly in a purpose-built new retail space that also serves as its national distribution headquarters. Located in West Haven Marina in downtown Auckland, the new facility is positioned to serve the largest marina in the country as well as the entire national marketplace.

As we expand our industry coverage to include our neighbours in New Zealand and S.E. Asia, details of another appointment makes this week's news. Sealegs International this week announced the appointment of Jack Ewen as Global After Sales Manager, and Fares Hamed as Global Service Manager. Jack has built his experience and skills for the job first from his Bachelor of Business, then from Sealegs where he worked his way up from a junior Sales Rep to NZ Sales Manager. Chief Executive Officer David McKee Wright says "Jack's success in his initial years at Sealegs working within the NZ market demonstrated his passion for people and Sealegs. I've known Jack since he was 7 years old and even then, he loved engaging with people about Sealegs."

Also from New Zealand, Rivergate teamed up with Catalano Shipping Services to host the inaugural Auckland Captains' Long Lunch at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron last week. 16 Captains attended, as well as nine industry proponents and five sponsors. The lunch was the opportunity for Captains and crew from all over the region to socialise and exchange information and opinions about Australia and New Zealand's prospects in an ever-changing world. The Members' Lounge at RNZYS was the ideal venue for the inaugural luncheon, and guests were treated to delectable cuisine featuring seasonal produce and seafood, complemented by local wine, with the picturesque backdrop of Waitemata Harbour, and taking pride of place among the vast cabinets of silverware, showcasing the America's Cup.

Stay safe and keep sending us your news,
Peter Rendle -

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