Johannesburg Boat Show

The South African boat-building industry plays huge role in the economy. At last count the industry employed some 3 500 people involved in local boat building, for both export and the local boating market.

The bulk of these boat-builders are located in the Western Cape. But there are a significant number of local boat-building concerns that are building in-land-water craft for the local market, as well as for export.

“The Johannesburg Boat Show will be a huge boost for the so-called inland water end of the market,” said Vanessa Davidson, CEO of MIASA, the Marine Industry Association of South Africa.

“South Africabuilds boats to international standards and thanks to local ingenuity and the tenacity of our manufacturers, we are able to supply excellent boats to the local market and to export boats at competitive prices all around the world.”

However, the market has slumped substantially in the past five years, with some experts estimating local leisure boat production of only a third of what it was pre-2007.

The three big players have all seen their sales slump dramatically.

“It is vital that we keep our boat-building industry alive for the leisure market,” says Riaan van Helsdinigen, a director of Twin Boats, along with his twin brother Andre.

“Once we lose our trained personnel, the industry will be effectively dead, and we will all end up importing boats. “One of the ways we have retained our staff is to diversify. We have started building all sorts of other craft and also gone into boat refurbishing to keep our skilled people on our team”.

Van Helsdingen added that being a boat builder in this country meant being mutli-skilled. One needed to be a good designer, a good craftsman, a good trainer of personnel, a production manager and a marketer.

This weekend’s Johannesburg Boat Show will showcase some 50 exhibitors, ranging from boat builders to boat importers, and associated exhibitors in the fishing and boating aftermarket gear businesses.

There will also be exhibits from insurers, magazine publishers, marine navigation devices and smaller craft such as kayaks, wakeboards and surfboards.

The Amid Motorcycle Show, which runs concurrently with the

Boat Show

will host an equally-impressive display, with some 55 exhibitors taking part, with many types of motorcycles, quads, off-road machines, racers, custom machines such as ultra fast superbikes and choppers to whet the appetite of bikers.

The Outdoor Lifestyle Show will also be impressive, with scuba gear, camping equipment, caravans, trailers and off-road trailers on display, as well as some awesome Arctic off-roaders.

There will be plenty of show giveaways, and this confluence of various outdoor pursuits is seen as a breakthrough concept for future shows of this nature.

Said Dan Savadier, Chairman of the SA Boat retailers Association: “I think having the motorcycling people, the outdoor people and us marine enthusiasts together in one show is a marvellous idea. The synergies between the lifestyles are obvious, and we see this show as a big boost for our industry. “

The Johannesburg Boat Show will run at Nasrec Expo Centre, South of Johannesburg, this weekend, between Friday August 24 and Sunday August 26, and will be co-located with the AMID Motorcycle Show and the Outdoor Lifestyle Show.


From Friday 24 – Sunday 26 August 2012.
Gates open each day at 9am and close at 6pm, Show will remain open until 7pm

Tickets are available at the gate or through Computicket.

Johannesburg Expo Centre, Rand Show Road, Nasrec. (GPS – S26° 14.810’ E27° 58.695’)