Sustainability Superyacht Construction and material

Trends in the leisure marine industry

Friday, 1 October 2021
The past few months we interviewed several people for ‘Humans of METSTRADE’ and asked them, among other things, what trends they see happening in the marine industry.

1. More focus on design

One of the trends named by Marianne Hendriks (Managing Director of Dutch superyacht and luxury yacht builder Moonen Yachts) is the changing design of the boats. “In terms of design, the stern of the ship should create a beach club feeling. Sunbathing, watersports and easy access to the water is becoming much more important today.”

Torsten Conradi (CEO Judel / Vrolijk & co and President of the German Boat- and Shipbuilding Association (DBSV)) agrees and sees a new trend in yachts becoming more like apartments on the water. “The pandemic plays a big role in it and the growing property prices make that a boat is a good alternative with even a better view. DBSV adapts to this by building boats with square, wider and parallel forms to create more living space and use a boat as a home.”

“Sailboats are looking better than before and manufacturers have improved the cosmetic design. Equipment is also progressing quite well and carbon fibre is becoming more and more prevalent, particularly on the rig side of the business.”, according to David Barrow (founder Barrow International and director Windship Technolog).

2. Growing and changing demand

Another notable trend is the growing and changing demand for yachts. Gianni de Bonis (Managing Director TecnoRib): “We are talking about the demand for exclusiveness. These people are curious and cruise the web to research their purchase which means they know all details and know exactly what they want. Because of COVID-19, a new market has entered the marine industry. People which are new in the marine industry desire to escape from the crowd in these COVID times.“

Lesley Robinson (CEO of marine industry association British Marine) says that indicators in UK and elsewhere show a pandemic-related summer boom of staycation activity and interest in boating this year. “(…) with the welcome growth of new and younger people. We need to understand how to retain this interest when international travel opens again and continue to improve accessibility and service to sustainably maintain momentum.”

3. Focus on environment

Another ongoing and important trend is the growing drive to improve the environment. Sustainability is a hot topic. “The engine room and layout of superyachts should meet the new IMO Tier lll regulations.” says Marianne Hendriks. “Energy and fuel consumption, reuse of heat and water, as well as selection of materials that do not harm workers or the environment are all important topics on today’s calendar. Environmental impact is one of the new priorities.”

According to Alexandra Foineau Oakley (Global Product Manager Lumishore) environmental thinking is more and more embedded throughout all the processes in companies, such as the impact of materials and packaging. “Now, customers are much more reluctant to make purchases that are environmentally damaging”.

Toni Salom (Founder and CEO Nautipaints and President of Balearic Marine Cluster) feels it is important that whenever superyachts and boats visit the Balearic Islands, they see how government and industry are working together to protect the environment and their islands. “The environment is one of the biggest points that everyone is focused on, in terms of reducing carbon footprint as well as respecting nature and preserving resources.”

4. Embracing digital tools

David Barrow sees something else interesting happening in the marine industry: “The lack of travel these days makes people and businesses pay more attention to digital marketing. The focus will be more on social media and websites which results in more interaction and makes communication easier.” Alexandra Foineau Oakley, Global Product Manager for Lumishore previously didn’t believe that the marine industry could adopt digital tools as quickly as the past year. “We are often 10-20 years behind industries like automotive and computing, but COVID-19 restrictions have forced us all to move quickly.”

However, as much as the adoption of digital tools is a great step forward. Both David and Alexandra still believe in face-to-face meetings. David: “There's nothing like being there and meeting buyers, so I’m looking forward to a return to physical attendance at key exhibitions like METSTRADE.”

Read more from Humans of METSTRADE:
- Marianne Hendriks (Moonen Yachts)
- Gianni de Bonis (TecnoRIB)
- David Barrow (Barrow International / Windship Technology)
- Alexandra Foineau Oakley (Lumishore)
- Toni Salom (Nautipaints and Balearic Marine Cluster)

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