Dubai Boating Conference discusses significant need for “rules of the road” on Gulf waters

Experts debate new maritime legislation at Dubai International Boat Show

Fresh calls have been made for tighter rules and regulations for yachtsmen in the Arabian Gulf following the publication of a major survey at the 3rd Gulf Boating Conference, which is taking place at the Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS).

The findings of the Arab Marine Industry Survey, unveiled at the conference, indicate that because the Middle East's leisure boat market is growing at the fastest rates since records began, with more than 35,000 leisure craft being used in the Gulf, there is now an urgent need for a code of conduct for everyone to follow.

"Because the Dubai International Boat Show plays has such an important part in the regional maritime calendar, marine professionals from around the Middle East are keen to take part in the annual Gulf Boating Conference because it offers this unique opportunity to discuss the very latest industry issues," said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of the Dubai International Boat Show.

The new initiatives suggested at the Gulf Boating Conference include tightening of boat registration, greater attention to detail on the region's sea and harbour charts and clearer multi-lingual signs and documents of where leisure craft can go.

"There has been a dramatic increase in boats of all sizes on the region's seas, but all too often the current rules and regulations are not understood or adhered to. In many cases some of the most basic "rules of the road" are not written down which causes difficulties for coastguard and harbour authorities as well as private leisure yachtsmen," said Dr Mohammed Hamdan, chairman of the 3rd Gulf Boating Conference.

Following the presentation by the Arab Marine Industries Association at the conference there was an open forum with an international panel of experts to discuss, "Leisure Boating in the Gulf, can it be made user friendly?"

Taking place on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 March at the Dubai International Boat Show, the Gulf Boating Conference, entitled "The Expanding Regional Market", enables international experts and trade professionals from all backgrounds to address important areas of modern boating.

Another area of discussion at the conference was "Islamic Financing for Yachts and Boats" which has become increasingly popular due to a combination of factors including the rising popularity of sailing, the increasing availability of waterfront property and the fast-growing population.

Local and international banks have seized the opportunity by creating a range of financing options for potential boat owners with packages often copying those available in mature markets such as Canada, Hong Kong and the USA.

The usual loan requirements are a 30 percent down payment as well as valid boat and life insurance. The loans are often available in two types which are the purchase or construction of luxury boats and the purchase of new boats.

Other highlights from the conference include an update on the Bahraini market by Isa Kooheji, Director for Kooheji Marine Bahrain and "Building a distribution network in the Middle East" by Andrew Wagner General Manager of Al Masaood in Abu Dhabi.

A presentation on the Indian leisure boating market and its links with Dubai and the Gulf States was also given by Gautama Dutta of Mumbai-based Marine Solutions.

DIBS takes place from 13 – 17 March 2007 at the Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi. The Dubai International Boat Show is open daily over the course of the show from 3pm to 9.30pm.

The show is open free of charge to trade visitors with general public tickets costing AED 35 per person. Access to the on-water marina area may be restricted at times and children under the age of 12 must be accompanied at all times.

As well as free on-site parking at the Dubai International Boat Show, there is also plenty of free off-site parking which is located just 3 minutes from the show, along Sufouh Road. Visitors parking in the off-site car park can use the frequent free shuttle bus to and from the venue.



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