The recreational and commercial boating industry in Australia has certainly come a long way since it was first showcased on a mass public level at the inaugural Melbourne Boat Show in the 1960s. This year, all the high-tech gadgets, gear and onboard instruments will be the stars of the show.
According to Clyde Batty of the Boating Industry Association of Victoria (BIAV), 21st century consumers have created a demand for incredibly diverse products and services.
'The boating industry is a far cry from what it was 50 years ago before the use of fiberglass as the primary method of hull production,' Mr Batty said.
'Much like the automotive industry, what we have seen are huge leaps in technological advancement in the area of radar, GPS, performance, anti fouling coatings, outboard motors, performance and environmental friendliness.'
Every year since 1961, these advancements have been the key driver for crowds to attend the Melbourne Boat Show and this year is no different.
Renowned Melbourne based boat manufacturer Haines Hunter will officially unveil three new high tech models at the show being held on the Queen’s Birthday weekend, June 9 to 13 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
Two new centre console models – a 400 Prowler and a 525 Prowler - as well as a prototype of the new 760 flagship model will be available for viewing with new owners of the 400 version having the option of being able to customise the hull layout with forward casting decks and bow mount electric motors.
The 525 model is designed with the keen sportfishermen in mind with the centre console allowing plenty of room for active fishing such as spinning for tuna or working plastics for snapper.
Max HP for the 525 Prowler is expected to be 130hp, with a Haines Hunter spokesman saying that outboards in the 115hp class should provide excellent performance and fuel efficiency.
Melbourne Boat Show - .. .
Engine technology will also be on show with Honda displaying their all-new flagship BF250 outboard for the first time to the Australian public at the show.
The concept BF250 provides the first indication of the design direction for the new outboard, which is planned to be available in Australia towards the end of this year.
Based on a large-displacement 3.6L engine, the concept BF250 has been designed to deliver the optimum balance of performance and fuel efficiency, through exclusive Honda technologies including BLAST™ – air/fuel ratio linked ignition timing control technology; VTEC® – variable valve timing and electronic control; and ECOmo – unique lean burn control system.
The concept engine is also NMEA 2000 compliant, allowing engine-to-electronics data communication to deliver engine management and performance data to compatible marine electronics displays.
Through its innovative design, the concept BF250 also incorporates a streamlined, striking and sleek exterior that reflects Honda’s position as a premium brand in the marine industry.
In the area of responding to the modern day customer’s needs, Quintrex Australian Dealer of the Year, Streaker Boats, will be present at the show with a huge range of models incorporating runabouts, tinnies, ski boats, cruisers and more to inspect.
Although known as a dealer that sells large volumes of product, Streaker pride themselves on offering personalised service, evident by the many awards that line their showroom walls.
'It sounds basic, but we understand that customers want to inspect boats properly before purchasing,' said co-director Leon Savage.
'When it comes time to deliver a new boat to our customer, we’re happy to do this at the boat ramp and show the customer the finer points of operating their new boat.'
According to Mr Batty, quality exhibitors such as those mentioned above, as well as a number of other attractions are what make the Melbourne Boat Show a world class event
'In addition to Accessory Alley which offers plenty of fishing gear, we’re really pleased to offer such a well rounded array of product, services and industry information for those who are both new or experienced in the area of boating,' he said.
'There will be a lot of information available from organization such as Marine Tourism, Marine Safety Victoria (TSV), Parks Victoria and NSW Maritime which is a great way to make sure the whole family can be involved.'
Special attractions this year have also been designed with kids in mind and include Flathead Fred’s Fun Fishin’ Show, Lulu Kids’ Activities and the Yahama Super Fish Tank.
The main stage will be used for education presentations by top experts on fishing, boating and marine safety whilst Club Marine will showcase the latest marine cuisine with cooking demonstrations on their custom stand.
More at www.melbourneboatshow.com.au