Cleaner Ocean Campaigns, Boat Shows at the leading edge

Cleaner Ocean Campaigns, Boat Shows at the leading edge

Peter Franklin
Tuesday, 9 April 2019

As somebody who has enjoyed boating since childhood, I still have happy memories of my father taking me to the London Boat Show. That was several decades ago in the days when the event was held at Earls Court in the West End of the City and I vividly recall how I was enthralled by the expectation, the buzz around the halls, and the wonder of discovery which drove my desire to get afloat!

So, at last year’s METSTRADE Show I was pleased to meet Renate Maddocks-Born who is Secretary General of International Federation of Boat Show Organisers (IFBSO). She represents many of the world’s leading boat shows, including Fort Lauderdale, Dusseldorf, Miami, Barcelona, and METSTRADE itself, as well as several events in Scandinavia, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.  

#ReThink Plastic

Renate explained to me how she believes passionately in the important role that boat shows can play, in reaching out to the boating public, educating, leading by example and helping to set standards in the global campaign for Ocean Conservation. 

After all, boat shows are at the front line of our industry,” she said. They depend on boat sales and the future generations of boat owners and charterers will be more mindful than ever, about pursuing their pastime in a healthy environment, whilst enjoying all the pleasures that a sustainable level of biodiversity brings to their pastime

During the last ICOMIA/IFBSO Congress in Berlin, IFBSO delegates made a commitment to use their boat shows as conduits to push measures in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals and to communicate information via their participants and visitors on issues related to plastic pollution and on conservation of the world’s oceans, lakes and waterways.

Code of Excellence
And so, the #ReThink Plastic initiative was launched and the following Code of Excellence was published:

  • IFBSO member boat shows will endeavour to participate in the #ReThink Plastic initiative to the best of their ability and are encouraged to run a campaign to communicate diverse information on issues related to plastic pollution in order to create or increase ecological awareness amongst exhibitors and visitors. 
  • To embrace the principles of corporate responsibility, IFBSO member boat shows should aim the reduce or completely eliminate single-use plastics at their shows wherever possible. Single-use plastics include: food packaging, grocery bags, bottles, straws, containers, cups, cutlery, plastic bags, promotional items, etc) and to embrace the principles of corporate social responsibility.
  • Workshop at this year’s ICOMIA/IFBSO Congress
    Since the last Congress, the general focus on plastic pollution of the world’s oceans and waterways has significantly increased, mainly due to powerful social media campaigns and hard-hitting TV documentaries. So, the boating public are receptive to ideas and initiatives!

    The European Union published ambitious new Directives aimed at tackling marine litter at its source in 2018. These are intended to address more than 70% of plastic marine litter generated in the EU. This will be done through tailored measures focusing on the 10 single-use plastic products most found on beaches, as well as on fishing gear, and on products made of oxo-degradable plastics.  

    As well as the environmental costs, marine litter is unsightly and hazardous and may deter new and potential boaters, because cleaner oceans will encourage increased uptake of boating.

    This June, at their Congress in Croatia, the IFBSO members will take their initiative one step further by reporting on their progress, exchanging ideas and developing further actions in an informal Workshop setting. These workshops can then be taken forward with a common purpose in order to benefit the future sustainability of our industry. 

    METSTRADE will be there joining the conversations and we will report back on the proceedings.    

    Share your stories on leisure marine industry with us

    Do you have an innovation, research results or an other interesting topic you would like to share with the leisure marine equipment industry? The METSTRADE website and social media channels are a great platform to showcase your stories! Let us know via

    Are you an METSTRADE exhibitor?

    Make sure you add your latest press releases to your Company Profile in the Exhibitor Portal for free exposure.