by Emma Milne
It’s often said, 'the family that goes boating together, stays together' … and this important fact is one of the underlying pillars of success for the Gold Coast International Marine Expo.
Expo gives enthusiasts the best chance to get afloat before the summer and Christmas seasons
Now in its fourth year, the Expo is going from strength to strength … and Event and Marketing Manager Emma Milne said the focus for 2014 is still firmly fixed on helping families create fun memories that they can treasure for a lifetime.
'Family plays an important role in the boating industry and this fact is certainly not lost on our exhibitors who have ensured that when we say there will be something for everyone … we deliver on that promise,' Ms Milne said.
The family factor was not lost on Sirocco Marine North’s Dylan and Lillian Lopez when they introduced the Sirocco Bumper Boats at the first Gold Coast International Marine Expo in 2011, helping the next generation to develop a love of 'all things aquatic'.
The parents of two little girls – Havana and Lava – Dylan and Lillian had then just established their business in the Gold Coast Marine Precinct after moving from Sydney and, as Dylan says: 'We were immediately big believers in the Expo … we were on-board with the event’s mission statement of being ‘by the marine industry, for the marine industry’ and we wanted to do all we could to help make it a success'.
Enter the Sirocco Bumper Boats – inflatable mini-boats in an inflatable pool, which has become an institutional draw card for smaller kids.
The Sirocco Bumper Boats are not just a way to introduce a new generation to the fun of boating, but also raise money for charity
'I got the idea from the Ekka and thought it would be great for the Expo,' said Dylan. 'Kids are introduced to motorbikes at a young age with a PeeWee 50 or an electric mini-bike … and boating now has these mini-boats which allow kids to experience what it’s like to drive on the water at a very young age.
'They have an incredible load capacity – a child up to 16 can drive them around the family pool. They take about 2-3 minutes to charge and track really well … and you can pack them away when you’re done. There’s even a timer so that you can control a large group of six-year-olds.'
Sirocco Marine North donates use of the Bumper Boats to help raise money for the Expo’s charities. 'We also donate a Sirocco 240 flat hull with a Honda outboard (worth $3000) as a public prize giveaway to help raise money – and that’s another thing we love about Expo, there are some great charities that benefit,' said Dylan.
To date, the not-for-profit Expo has raised over $50,000 for charities including the Rotary Club of Coomera River, Paradise Kids, Sailability Gold Coast and the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter Rescue Service.
'Sirocco Marine North – which carries the world’s leading brands of rigid inflatable boats – is a major partner of the Expo and we really appreciate their support over the years,' said Ms Milne. 'This year they will be exhibiting their complete range from the Sirocco small tenders and BRIG inflatable sports boats and Chaparral pleasure craft to the low-profile Williams turbo-jet, Sealegs amphibious craft and of course the Robalo range of fishing boats.'
Complementing the Sirocco Bumper Boats at this year’s Expo – October 17-19 – will be the Ozbobbles ball rides, Segway rides, a giant 10-metre slide, plus face-painting, balloon twisting and a food court to keep the whole family happy. The 3km-long Expo circuit will also feature a huge range of live attractions and demonstrations every 15 minutes, including the amazing extreme high-diving show.
Ozbobbles are a new way to enjoy the water, and will keep the kids entertained at the 2014 Gold Coast International Marine Expo
'It’s going to be a whole lot of fun,' said Ms Milne.
Indeed, the 2014 Expo is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet – high demand for exhibitor space has prompted organisers to expand the event site.
'We’ve already allocated more than 70% of available sites – this interest certainly confirms that the Expo has cemented itself as an important event for the marine industry not just locally, but for Australia,' Ms Milne said.
Last year, more than 21,000 people attended the not-for-profit Expo, which brings together everything from super-yachts to fishing equipment, jet skis … and everything else in between.
'Expo showcases a massive array of marine equipment, accessories and boats … and gives the enthusiasts the best chance to get afloat before the summer and Christmas seasons,' said Ms Milne.
The 2014 Expo will again be offering free on-site parking and a nominal entry fee of $8 per adult, $5 for seniors and children under the age of 15 years will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult which helps to secure the future of the event and raise much-needed funds for charity.
For the first time, tickets for the Gold Coast International Marine Expo are available online so savvy patrons can avoid lining up at the gate. Simply click here to pre-purchase tickets for any of the three days.
For more information on the 2014 Gold Coast International Marine Expo, visit the new website or contact Emma Milne on 0447 758 884.