Published: Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The fourth annual Gold Coast International Marine Expo held Oct 17-19 in Australia was a grand success with strong sales reported.

Feedback from exhibitors was extremely positive, indicating the event had achieved its objectives of boosting the marine industry, raising money for charity and providing visitors with an opportunity to get everything they need to have fun on the water this summer.

The Expo’s beneficiary charities are the Rotary Club of Coomera River, Sea World Research & Rescue Foundation, Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter Rescue Service and Sailability Gold Coast.

“Based on exhibitor feedback, the total sales at the Expo alone would certainly be in the order of tens of millions of dollars,” says Expo Marketing and Event Manager Emma Milne. “We are very happy with this year’s event and we are justifiably excited about its future. We are now in our fourth year and our massive showcase of all things aquatic keeps getting better and better. This year we had 220 exhibitors which is up 10 per cent from last year, and 60 new boat and product releases.”

Gold Coast International Marine Expo A Resounding Success

There was great interest in the powered snorkelling and diving propulsion unit, the Sea-Doo SeaScooter. “One nice gentleman came in and bought three,” says Peter Dyer from RIB Force inflatables. “He’s in for a great summer.”

The tough, custom-built shallow draft Semac vessels also drew a lot of attention. “I’m genuinely impressed,” says Greg Hill from Cape Marine. “I’ve reached general arrangements to sell five of these boats, some of which will be flown in to remote regions by helicopter.”

Hill was approached by pearl farmers in Tahiti, oil and gas companies in Burma and even mining and security companies from Papua New Guinea.

Iconic Australian boat builder, Riviera confirmed the sale of two boats – a 5000 Sport Yacht and a 50 Enclosed Flybridge, and it doesn’t stop there. “We’ve already had seven forward orders for the 6000 Sport Yacht, which made her world premiere only two months ago,” says Riviera’s Stephen Milne.

Demand was so strong for the Riviera factory tours that two mini-buses were hired to supplement The Riviera Express train ride, with a total of almost 1800 people taking the fully narrated tour of the largest luxury yacht-building facility in the Southern Hemisphere, with all proceeds being donated to the Expo’s main beneficiary charities.

Gold Coast International Marine Expo A Resounding Success 2

JSW Powersports reported there were more than 15 new Sea-Doo personal watercraft owners after the Expo.

“I have to sit down with my team tomorrow to get the final numbers but we also have a boat display and it will take us a couple of weeks to get through the sea trials and for our customers to sign on the bottom line,” says Jeff McNiven from JSW Powersports. “We’ve got a busy few weeks ahead of us but it’s been well worth it and we will certainly be back next year.”

Entertainment events, including the McDonald’s Extreme High Diving Show and the Jetovator and Hoverboard demonstrations proved to be very popular.

Gold Coast International Marine Expo A Resounding Success 1

Rex Scott from Volunteer Marine Rescue Southport said the Expo was a terrific opportunity to raise funds, and also encourage new volunteers to join.

“Membership is a big thing for us too because we rely so heavily on fund-raising and volunteers,” he said. “We do it for the love of it – we haven’t had a pay rise in years.”

Dates for the 2015 Gold Coast International Marine Expo will be announced soon.