by Jeni Bone
Marine13 is heading in to its second day of more than 101 speakers at all levels of the boating, marina, safety and business fields, and judging from first impressions of the more than 450 in attendance, participants are very satisfied so far.
Delegates have come from all over the globe - Hong Kong, the UK, New Zealand and the US, as well as from each state of Australia. All are impressed with the quality and breadth of speakers - experts in their industries - as well as the glorious weather which topped 28C on Monday (a welcome change for some northern hemisphere visitors escaping the last throes of cool weather in their regions).
Chairman of the BIAA, co-host with MIA on the event, Darren Vaux attended the plenary sessions yesterday and was thrilled with delegate feedback and the mood at the convention centre.
'There is a great vibe,' he stated. 'People are smiling, they're glad to be here. It's a great turn out, especially for the inaugural year,' he added, indicating there are plans to make it a biannual event - the next in 2015. 'There were a few people who wanted to wait and see how it was received and attended, but they will see now they missed something special. It's an important milestone for the marine industry and something that we have needed.'
As well as practical information and new business skills, Vaux hopes delegates take away with them a sense of collegiate pride and a sense that 'we're all in this together'. 'As Thom Dammrich pointed out this morning, even industry issues that you may not see as your own impact on all of us because when one segment of the industry is affected, we all are. We need to nurture that sense of belonging.'
Addressing a packed auditorium, filled with a mixed crowd from all levels and walks of life, the President of the NMMA told of the Discover Boating evolution in the US, embracing new media, new methods and new recruits, as well as igniting current boaters - 'ambassadors of the boating lifestyle' - through social media to spread the word using the tagline 'Things change on the water, most of all you!'
Thom Dammrich President NMMA
He stressed the importance of developing youth in boating, focusing on ethnic minorities in the US such as Hispanics - which by 2020 will be majorities in many established boating communities - and the imperative of advocacy across the industry - extremely relevant to our local industry.
'The boating industry is like an ecosystem,' he explained. 'Anything that adversely impacts one will impact all. That's why we need to work together. We're interdependent. Our success depends on working together as a group.'
Concluding by commending organisers of Marine13 for their foresight and investment in the marine industry, Thom said our efforts will bear fruit. 'Boating is vital for society, not just economically, but for the health and well-being of communities.'
Presentations will be covered in detail throughout this week. For more visit www,narine13.com