Boat Asia 2008 went off last weekend, blessed by hot sunshine and blue skies. We are still waiting for the official gate figures, but it certainly looked like a very healthy turnout in the new venue at Marina at Keppel Bay. Billing itself as 'Asia’s premier leisure boat and luxury waterfront lifestyle event', the show consisted of a big air-conditioned marquee for the dry displays and – via the lobby of the impressive clubhouse – the in-water displays in the marina, where exhibitors’ ‘cabanas’ floated on temporary pontoon space right next to their exhibits.
There is no doubt that Marina at Keppel Bay is a very attractive location – a deep water harbour that used to be the Keppel Island shipyard, with waterfront condominiums just across the water on the site of the former dry docks, high-rise apartments on the drawing board and phase 2 of the marina to be completed by next year. Marina at Keppel Bay describes itself as 'the only residential precinct in Singapore to have a world-class marina' – (although there are some that might dispute that description).
Last year’s Boat Asia was held at One°15 at Sentosa Cove, and both visitors and exhibitors had mixed reactions to the transfer to Marina at Keppel Island. Some preferred the new location ('This is more like a boat show, where you greet your guests in the floating cabanas and then they can step right on to the boats alongside. One°15 had a long walk from the cabana areas down to see the yachts…') whereas others preferred the previous arrangements at Sentosa Cove. Whatever, the organisers of the event (TMX Show Productions, Herman Ho) will be running Boat Asia 2009 at Keppel. 'We are well satisfied with attendance this year, and Marina at Keppel Bay have promised us that phase 2 of the marina will be completed before next year' said Ho, 'and that means we will have more, and bigger, boats here in 2009.'