Back on deck

The Sanctuary Cove Boating Festival is shaping up to be a celebration for exhibitors and the general public alike.

Written by Jack O'Rourke

03 November 2020


Anticipation is growing ahead of this year’s Sanctuary Cove Boating Festival. Set for 13–15 November, boatbuilders are looking forward to parading their new products and launches in public for the first time since COVID-19 forced the cancellation of many boat shows.

The Sanctuary Cove Boating Festival was set up this year in response to the fallout from the pandemic and will act as a precursor to the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show in May 2021.

The show has attracted an extraordinary line-up of multi-million-dollar yachts. However, with the Queensland Government recently announcing the state will keep its border closed to Greater Sydney and Victoria until at least 1 December, the show will predominately focus on Queensland-based exhibitors instead, giving it a local flavour.

“We knew restrictions would remain in place in some way or another, whether that was border restrictions or restrictions on the number of patrons on site. That’s why we designed the festival to be lighter and more nimble than SCIBS,” said Sales & Partnerships Manager Dominic O’Brien.


While the restrictions will have an impact on the number of exhibitors overall, the show will still have plenty to offer boating enthusiasts. “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from the industry and are trying to find space to accommodate more product,” continued O’Brien.

“We predicted there would be between 100 and 120 exhibitors and have reached our target. The streets are full, and we have taken over extra space on the Sanctuary Cove Marina, which recently underwent a $12 million expansion.”

O’Brien expressed his disappointment that some brands wouldn’t be able to make the show and some prospective buyers from Sydney and Victoria would be unable to attend. He did, however, highlight that the show still had many high-quality exhibitors on display.

“Exhibitors in Sydney and Victoria who can’t make the show will be disappointed. It’s a shame a few companies have been forced to pull out, but many still have offices and stock located in Queensland and can exhibit.

O’Brien said, “Overall, we have a strong exhibitor list this year and have organised a fantastic array of products for visitors to enjoy.”

Feedback from exhibitors is that there is a lot of new interest in the market, and some have even reported they are running out of stock. O’Brien noted, “The industry has done well over this difficult period, reporting strong sales in the leisure sector.”

“Our industry loves to gather and show itself off to the public, and the Sanctuary Cove Boating Festival is an excellent opportunity for everyone to catch up.

“Businesses are looking forward to getting back on deck and promoting their product and the general public is saying the same thing. We’ve had a strong response to advanced registrations, and everyone is looking forward to looking at the new products as well as getting out and enjoying the event.”



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