Sydney Show success

The Sydney International Boat Show closed on Sunday having enjoyed four days celebrating the Australian boating lifestyle, with visitor numbers up and exhibitor satisfaction across the board.

07 August 2023


SIBS 2023 was held at the International Convention Centre Sydney and the Show’s purpose-built marina on Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour.

Andrew Fielding, President of the Boating Industry Association (BIA) said, “Boating is a standout option in leisure for people from all walks of life, ages and abilities.

“We’re delighted with the diversity of the offering, quality of the displays and the enthusiasm of the public attending our Show.”

With a total of 233 exhibitors, accounting for 646 boats at the Show, including 220 vessels on the marina representing 82 on-water exhibitors, the largest on-water display since 2018, all available space in the halls and marina was sold out. There were 151 exhibitors showing a total of 424 boats in the halls.


Exhibitors reported significant sales, leading to an anticipated Show turnover in the hundreds of millions of dollars. This reinforces the annual economic value of the boating industry to New South Wales of more than $3 billion.

On the marina, Hannah Mason of Short Marine said this could well be the ‘best show ever’ for their business. “The Show has gone really well for us, partly due to the Viking Yacht at our stand. It’s been such a showstopper, we’ll bring a bigger model next year, maybe even the Valhalla 55. Our sales have been that significant,” she said.

The same goes for Flagstaff Marine, presenting the iconic Beneteau brand amongst others at the Show.

“A number of very strong enquires indicates to us the market is definitely returning,” says Flagstaff Marine’s Senior Broker Campbell Geeves.

“It’s been reassuring to the see the public’s enthusiasm for sailing boats, particularly the debut of the Beneteau First 36.”

Richard Morris of Australian Superyachts was ‘blown away’ by the success of the Show, expecting to close a few sales in the coming weeks. “We have around half a dozen solid contracts out in the market right now, perhaps a few more, all coming from interest at the Show. Not just for the Nomad 101, but the Majesty 72 as well. We’ve had a great Show,” Richard said.

In the Halls, the popularity continued across the entire spectrum, with boating enthusiasts enjoying the range of boats and accessories on offer. Craig Rushby from fishing and tackle retailer Oceans Wilderness expressed the ‘awesome response’ to his stand at the Show.

“We’re very glad to be here,” he said on the second day of the Show. “The entire range is proving more popular than we imagined, from the cheapest bait bucket to our most expensive reels. We had to bring in a second cash register to meet the demand,” he said.

Cruise Craft too enjoyed success, with Sales and Marketing Manager Danny Jordin saying the new models certainly captured the market and qualified buyers were quick to place deposits.

“We’ve sold multiple units,” he said. “The foot traffic has been great this year, and as well as the sales at the Show, we have plenty of leads to follow-up in the days and weeks ahead.”

Similarly, Jon Hunt was pleased with the crowd numbers. “There’s been a good solid cross-section of buyers come through our Hunt’s Marine stand,” he said. “Admittedly we always do well at the Show, and the sales this year have been good. The customers to the Show this year have been engaged and interested in what we have on offer.”

The event also delivered numerous memorable moments. Friday’s official function brought together many of the industry’s leaders and stakeholders to acknowledge the enormous social and economic contribution boating makes to New South Wales, and the rest of the country.

Minister for Transport Jo Haylen recognised recipients of the Maritime Medal, while the BIA Apprentice of the Year Award was presented to Beau Deathridge of Douglas Marine.

The BIA also recognised the contribution made to the industry by former President of the association Darren Vaux, who received a well-deserved Life Membership to the BIA. More than 300 young people attended the Careers Day on the opening day of the Show, while on Friday night the Show hosted the graduation ceremony for NSW TAFE students of the marine certificate courses. Students gathered with their families, employers and teachers both past and present.

The Show also celebrated family participation, with the introduction of the Discover Sailing and Paddling Hub, as well as the always popular Fishing Masterclasses.

Andrew Fielding said, “Our intention this year was to showcase all that is great about recreational boating. With the Show sold out and full to overflowing with boats, gear and accessories across the Halls and Marina.”

Both vendors and manufacturers said the Show attracted a quality audience, with high transaction rates recorded. Attendance numbers over the four days of the Show were strong.

Total attendees for 2023 was 46,919 which is an increase on last year.

The Sydney International Boat Show is presented by the Boating Industry Association Ltd (BIA) and Mulpha Events, and proudly supported by Partner in Safety – Transport for NSW, along with official event partners National Storage and Walcon Marine. The Sydney International Boat Show will return 1 to 4 August 2024.

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