by Jeni Bone
The Gold Coast Marine Expo scheduled for the Coomera precinct, 4-6 November is aiming to be 'inclusive, and a lot of fun'.
United we stand! From left to right : Stephen Milne – Riviera, Dean Leigh-Smith – Gold Coast City Marina, Bruce Shephard & Damian Duncan – Telwater, Brett Thurley – Clipper Motor Yachts, Ryan Leigh-Smith & Steve Sams – Gold Coast City Marina.
Dean Leigh-Smith, who is a director of the Gold Coast City Marina and chairman of the event, says the Gold Coast Marine Expo will be the country's 'first working boat show' and provide something for everybody.
'There will be 36 hectares to explore,' said Dean. '
The aim of the show is to 'open up boating to new markets'.
'We want to grow boating. Our aim is to attract people who have never been to a boat show before,' explained Dean, adding that there is no fee to enter, just a gold coin donation which goes to Paradise Kids charity.
'This is a fun industry and I think we've lost our way there in the focus on ticket sales, attendance, becoming corporate and a bit sterile sometimes. The real allure of boating is the lifestyle, the fun, the family togetherness. That is what we are going to showcase.'
Crucial to the event's momentum and appeal for exhibitors is the united front by four of the local industry's biggest players.
As Dean explained: 'We are four competitors, if you think about it. But we have checked our egos at the door, sat down at the table and planned something that will bring new people to boating - whether that's a kayak or a superyacht, a fishing rod, sunglasses or a jet ski. It all counts.'
Tickets and selling food will not be a priority. 'We have contracted out the entertainment and food, so visitors will have the options, but the event isn't distracted by that.'
As well as miles and miles of marinas filled with boats, brokerage yachts and behind the scenes insight into boat building on the premises of Australia's largest marine precinct, entertainment will include jumping castle and play area for kids, varied cuisine options and perhaps a surprise performance by the Roulettes, yet to confirm.
'We are taking a holistic approach, mixing it up, while not straying from boats and boating, we want to give people reasons to come here and consider boating. For us, it's simply about getting people up close to boats and showing them why we love it. It's the ideal time of year for people to be thinking about boating, and for exhibitors, if they can shift product before Christmas, they can do deals on the spot that people will be crazy not to take advantage of.'
Parking is available onsite, admission is free and more info can be found at gcmarineexpo.com.au
For a first-hand account of the event check out: