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The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) is promoting a necklace of over 60 Irish coastal marinas and pontoons as a central theme of its London Boat Show promotion that opens at ExCeL in London's Docklands on Friday morning.

As Afloat.ie reported previously, the Irish trade body is supporting the Irish Marina Operators Association (IMOA) who are keen to attract more visiting UK boats to Ireland this Summer. Eight Irish marinas have made the 'voyage' to London to promote their coastal facilties to the estimated 100,000 UK boating enthusiasts that will visit the international show over the next ten days. 

Marinas from Eight Irish Counties Represented

Dublin marinas at Dun Laoghaire and Malahide and Cork Harbour Marinas at Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven along with Greystones marina in Couty Wicklow, Carlingford marina in County Louth and Kilrush Marina in County Clare, Kimore Quay in Wexford and Fenit in County Kerry are among Irish marina representatives manning the Irish stand. 'The aim is to assist UK visitors planning a trip across the Irish sea this Summer to enjoy the full benefits of the Irish coast' says IMF Board Member Gerry Salmon of MGM Boats who has co–ordinated the Irish stand and hopes it will be the start of a regular appearance for Ireland at the International exhibition. 

 

Lucy Watson, star of hit Channel 4 series ‘Made in Chelsea’, will open the 62nd annual London Boat Show at 11am oin Friday.

Thousands of boats and brands will be showcased at the event all from leading British and international companies. Exhibitors will range from world-class boat builders through to fashion, travel operators and watersports companies – ensuring there is something for everyone.

Spectacular Show attractions will include a Mediterranean Bay with waterfront cafés and a specially built pool hosting live demonstrations. There will also be hundreds of boats to climb aboard, a 60’s Revival showcasing boating highlights from the era, and themed discussions led by industry experts in the London Boat Show Theatre.  

Last March, The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) met in Dublin to address priorities for the marine leisure industry after what has been a torrid time for marine trades in Ireland.

In a notice to members, Federation Chairman David O'Brien said 'like all small businesses, the IMF is building anew after recession'.

In a cautious note of optimism, O'Brien added 'Although it still remains to be seen if we really have 'turned a corner', as our politicians like to tell us, nothing can stay dormant indefinitely.

The IMF, who organises the National Boat Show, expects new opportunities to arise as the economy improves and consumer confidence grows.

Salmon also hopes to recruit new members for the IMF in London: 'The purpose of the stand is to highlight the benefits of being a member of the IMF in the absence of any planned events for any of our members in Ireland. The London show is the only international marine orientated event that is close to Ireland and one which attracts a number of Irish clients and companies'.

Members and non-members are most welcome to call by the stand F046, conveniently located near the Guinness stand.

Published in Marine Federation

#foreshore – The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) has given a cautious welcome to much heralded changes to the foreshore bill that is designed to streamline the development consent process.

The government has published its Legislation Programme for Spring/Summer 2015 and the Maritime Area and Foreshore (Amendment) Bill is among a list of key Bills of interest which currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The Bill will streamline the development consent process for the foreshore, including the integration of certain parts of the foreshore consent process (under the Foreshore Act 1933) with the existing on-land planning system.

The IMF, the national federation of the marine leisure industry in Ireland, has long held out that the failure to manage Ireland's natural resources "in a consistent or coherent manner" has led to serious setbacks in the support of marine tourism on the island.

The IMF has long argued the State must develop a clear and simplified pathway for the licensing of offshore and foreshore activity - in marina development, aquaculture, and energy exploitation. Currently, there is no timeframe for the granting of permissions leaving many developers facing a lifetime of unneccesary bureaucractic hurdles that stymies development, according to one marina developer.

In 2002, there was an attempt to address this when the Marine Institute published 'A Development Strategy for Marine Leisure Infrastructure'. Shortly afterwards, however, the responsibility for marine tourism research was transferred from the institute to the then Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. It would appear that during this move, a disagreement over how this new responsibility for marine infrastructure was to be resourced led to its not being resourced at all.

In 2007, the Marine Institute followed up with another report - the Marine Tourism and Leisure Development Strategy 2007-2013 - which valued the water-based tourism and leisure sector at €630m and anticipated it would grow to €1bn by 2013.

That report identified a failure to manage Ireland's natural resources "in a consistent or coherent manner" in support of marine tourism. That report, and and its recommendations, was left to gather dust alongside its 2002 predecessor.

So it is something that the Government's new marine plan, 'Harvesting our Ocean Wealth' aims to develop a national maritime spatial plan, and recognises the need to engage with experts and stakeholders. But it is imperative that government does not overlook the various barriers and pressures that exist in our various sea areas.

Above all, the key to unlocking Ireland's marine potential, according to the Irish Marine Federation is to complete the necklace of marinas around our coast - marinas which can provide a lifeline for struggling coastal communities with the sort of jobs that cannot be shipped abroad.

Ireland has a chronically underdeveloped marina system. The single marina in La Rochelle, France, for example, has the same capacity as our entire island. There are more berths in North Wales alone than there are in all of Ireland.

Marinas create small hubs of marine enterprise, supplying services to cater for the boat owners gathered there or just visiting, and bringing massive spin-off benefits for the neighbouring coastal communities. Studies show that for every €10 spent by a yachtsman in a marina, €100 is spent in the local town in shops, pubs and restaurants.

A visiting overseas boat leaves €132 per night. A visiting Irish boat leaves considerably more at over €300 per night. The average spend of a boat owner in a marina berth is in excess of €8,000 per annum. Most of this stays in the local community. One full time job is supported by every 3.7 marina berths according to Federation reports.

Published in Marine Federation

#irishmarinefed – The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) meets in Dublin tomorrow to address priorities for the marine leisure industry after what has been a torrid time for marine trades in Ireland.

In a notice to members, Federation Chairman David O'Brien says 'like all small businesses, the IMF is building anew after recession'.

In a cautious note of optimism, O'Brien adds 'Although it still remains to be seen if we really have 'turned a corner', as our politicians like to tell us, nothing can stay dormant indefinitely.

The IMF, who organises the National Boat Show, expects new opportunities to arise as the economy improves and consumer confidence grows.

O'Brien explains that the IMF was only able to keep afloat in recession by slashing costs and running almost entirely by its volunteer committee. 'We may be a long way from the dizzy heights of the IMF 2006 Boat Show at the RDS but equally we're a long way from 1984 when VAT was 35%, the top rate of income tax 65% and mortgage rates hit 16%. Even then we managed to run a show...!' 

In whatever form the next wave of activity comes, the IMF says it is ready and waiting to embark on a 'new chapter' for the industry. The IMF is keen to take on board views and suggestions and is also on a recruitment drive for new members.

The IMF agm takes place tomorrow at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire followed by a meeting of its Board who will focus on identifying IMF priorities for 2015 and 2016.

The new IMF website is operational at www.irishmarinefederation.com and the IMF is also on twitter @irishmarinefed

Published in Marine Federation

Are you involved in boat sales? Are you up to date with the recrecational craft directive (RCD)? The British Marine Federation is to run a newly updated course, which includes all the latest information on requirements for the Recreational Craft Directive at it Surrey premises.

The Course is relevant to: All those with responsibility for the design and construction of recreational craft, for example: directors, managers, designers, consultants and surveyors;

It is also useful to all those involved in boat building who are responsible for the supply of equipment to any new boat, including engine suppliers; DIY builders who wish to CE Mark their own boats and the importers of agents for boats built outside the UK.

More from the BMF here

Published in Marine Trade

#spatialplanning– Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is coming to prominence as a new approach to the governance of the seas and oceans.  The European Union has taken important steps to promote the uptake of MSP by Member States. Trans boundary planning in the European Atlantic is a project funded by DG Mare and the first workshop in the project is being held in Newry, Co. Down today.

The project is a partnership between the University of Liverpool and the Coastal Management Resource Centre of UCC. Delegates from a number of N Ireland government departments and the Republic have joined with industry stakeholders to discuss in the workshops some of the issues surrounding MSP. The Irish Marine Federation is the single voice representing the marine leisure sector.

Already the group are settling in to try to develop a methodology to ensure that all sectors will contribute to the debate from a social, environmental and an economic view point.

Steve Conlon of the IMF stated that it is important that the marine leisure industry full engages with this type of forum to ensure that the leisure boating voice continues to be heard.

Published in Marine Science

#marinescience – The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) is representing Ireland's marine leisure industry at the Atlantic Forum held at University College Cork (UCC).
Today's agenda is very much about the action plan and its implementation for marine research.
Future funding is also on the agenda and there will be presentations on Horizon the 2020 EU Programme for research and innovation, Cohesion Funds and also ERDF funding for the period 2014 to 2020,
The networking opportunity that the forum presents assists organisations to develop new initiatives.
Contacts have been made for a potential new programme to fund the IMF's marine leisure developments for the next 18 months.
The IMF will also participate next week in a new transnational programme on Transnational planning in the European Atlantic run by the university of Liverpool and the CRMC at UCC.

Published in Marine Science

#londonboatshow – Irish boating firm MGM Boats Ltd is flying the flag for Ireland at this week's London boat show at the Excel arena.

The Dun Laoghaire firm is promoting its brokerage listing of boats worth over €50m.

MGM will also be distributing information about the Gathering Cruise in Ireland this year both on its London and Dusseldorf Boat Show stands.

The leading Irish marine firm is the Sunseeker, Jeanneau and Aquador agent in Ireland and is embarking on a winter tour of the world's boat shows at Paris, London and Dusseldorf.

The main thrust of the firm's activity is the marketing of Ireland's largest brokerage listing in Ireland.

The Dun Laoghaire firm wrapped up several deals following the Southampton Boat Show, a venue where the Dublin firm had its own brokerage stand.

In the last 12 months, MGM has also travelled to many other foreign markets including Dubai, Sweden, Finland, Siberia and Moscow as well as the more common European yachting centres in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Balearic Islands.

The firm is also making a push on the Lagoon 39 catamaran, a brand new model from the French manufacturer. 'Live aboard cruising is a growth area on big catamarans' says the firm's Ross O'Leary who will be on the Lagoon stand at the Paris and Dusseldorf shows.

Published in Marine Trade

#loughree – Any threat to the water levels on Lough Ree would mean disruption to the navigation in a number of places say the Irish Marine Federation (IMF) in its latest newsletter in response to farming demands for lower water levels to prevent flooding.

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has sought water level reduction on Lough Ree by 600mm the Athlone Callows region say the IMF but such a move would make the inner lakes no longer navigable.

The Farming body is also demanding a single authority rather than shared responsibility of ESB and Waterways Ireland be put in place to decide on when the levels should be reduced.

According to the IMF over the past 50 years a number of detailed studies have been produced by hydrologists and they have all come to the same conclusion that the Shannon flooding is not a manageable occurrence rather it is due entirely to the nature of the river.

The IMF claim say water level lowering would also cause disruption in the navigation to the south of Athlone.

The IMF has prepared a paper on the economic consequences of this action and plan to meet with the Minister responsible, Mr. Brian Hayes T.D. together with the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland.

Published in Marine Federation

#marine – Although there has been a small but steady recovery the Irish Marine Federation (IMF) says in its latest bulletin to members, a reliable barometer of boating actiivty, the Irish boating trade is still a long way from getting back to anything that resembles a normal level of business.

'Our major dealers are relying on business generated from overseas clients, however, there has been some business done with Irish clients. Whilst consumer confidence remains low this trend will continue, says industry spokesman Steve Conlon.

The IMF's original estimate of quarter four of 2013 as marking the beginning of a consumer recovery now seems to be slipping further back.

Chandlery

Chandlery companies report a flat season with some exceptions in demand largely driven by the odd occasion of better weather or special events. The sector in common with others in the retail sector report low growth or at best flat with a halt to the downward trend of previous years.

It is expected the rise in the cost of Sterling will help counter the increase in online selling from UK based mail order companies.

Marinas

Business trends at marinas across the country vary with Dublin based marinas being the worst affected in terms of a loss of regular annual contracts.

There is an estimate of a 28% loss in annual contracts on the east coast. Cork marinas continue to have few or any vacancies with the marinas further west suffering a decline of approx 12% according to the IMF. 

In spite of the industry wide decline there has been growth in seasonal contract business for some marinas and some marinas also report strong visiting numbers.

The federation says 'It is too early to say as to whether overseas visitors are down overall this year but the Failte Ireland survey may give us an accurate national picture for the first time'. 

Boat Hire

Irish Boat Rental Association (IBRA) members reported a better than expected start to the season with a tailing off in September. Overall the business remains flat although preseason bookings were up slightly. The bad summer can be blamed for the slow up take from the domestic market, the Federation says.

Published in Marine Federation

#BOATSHOW–The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) holds its Annual General Meeting at 18.00 on Wednesday, 30th November at the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire.

Top of the agenda, in these challenging times, is the staging of next year's boat show which the board are keen to press ahead with in spite of the downturn. Options being discussed are a scaled back show as well as an on the water focus.

The AGM is open to all members of the IMF,  whose subscriptions are up to date.

The meeting will be followed by drinks at the NYC bar.


Published in Marine Federation
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