The city may not have a marina, forcing the 100-odd private boat owners to park their expensive toys in a narrow space adjacent to the Gateway of India, but it now has its own international boat show. The 1st Mumbai International Boat Show, to be held from 22 February to 25 February, is slotted between the 16th Zagreb Sport and Boat Show and the 22nd Fredericia International Boat Show (Denmark).
More than 70 brands such as Nautor’s Swan, Azimut, Beneteau, Sea Ray, Ferretti and Sunseeker will showcase their sailboats, kayaks, ski boats, motorboats and luxury yachts here. A 48-metre-long floating dock or pontoon, located in the sea adjacent to Gateway of India, will allow companies to display their boats. “The show demonstrates to international boat manufacturers that there is a market here and it signals the maturity of the Indian consumer,” says Sujoy Chohan, a director of show organizer Mumbai Boat Show Pvt. Ltd.
Agents representing boat companies in India say most of the buyers are industrialists and entrepreneurs. Industrialists who already own boats include Vijay Mallya,Gautam Singhania, Jamshyd Godrej, Kishore Mariwala and, recently, Anand Mahindra. Local firm Marine Solutions plans to showcase luxury powerboat Sea Ray 290 and Jeanneau’s performance sailboat Sun Odyssey 35 at the boat show. “Two years ago, buyers were people who wanted boats to transport them to their weekend homes across the harbour. Now they’re buying for pleasure,” says Anju Dutta, the company’s managing director.
Aashim Mongia, who runs yacht services firm West Coast Marine, says the number of boats in Mumbai has doubled in the last two years. “In the next couple of years, there will be no space to moor your boat,” says Mongia, who also acts as Mumbai’s chief boat mooring attendant.
He oversees the mooring management system that was set up by the Royal Bombay Yacht Club last October to handle the boat boom. Club officials say that since the start of the yachting season in October, they have registered 15 boats. Most Indians prefer to buy functional powerboats. Prices start at Rs10-12 lakh and go all the way up to Rs5 crore or more for luxury boats from manufacturers like Ferretti.
What next? Boat loans would be nice, says Chohan.