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Marine Federation is Navigating Beyond the Gloom

11th May 2010
Marine Federation is Navigating Beyond the Gloom

The Irish marine trade is recovering lost ground this spring according to the Irish Marine Federation's Mark McAuley. Having discussed market conditions with market leaders, it is clear that the market’s appetite for boats and boating holidays has improved – “As an industry, we sat down and took a hard look at the way things are going after a long dark winter for the industry. The great news is that boat sales are up around 30% compared to spring 2009. This increase is from a low base, but it’s good to see an upturn. Consumers are responding to the very competitive prices that are being offered by boat sellers to encourage people back into the market.”

Boating holidays on the Shannon are proving more popular. According to McAuley, “The hire boat fleet on the Shannon has shrunk somewhat over the last few years but bookings are up compared to last year and a bit of good weather could deliver a good season. Things have been helped by Bord Failte’s marketing of boating holidays to the Irish and continental European markets.”


“The marinas are also starting to fill up again. Since 2008 berths became readily available where once there were none, but the marinas have responded by lowering their prices and occupancy rates are rising in the major boating centres of Dublin, Cork and elsewhere.”


“Whilst the marine leisure market peaked like many others in 2006 and still has a long way to go if it is to reach those sorts of levels again, it is good to see that consumers are beginning to respond to the new pricing across the industry. There is an acute awareness that consumers are looking for value for money but, once they see it, there is now a willingness to buy.”


“Business costs remain a real problem, especially in light of falling prices. Rent and rates are big fixed costs and should have reduced in line with the market, but upward only rent reviews are blocking this. Competition in the domestic market is intense and our punitive VAT rate has eroded our competitiveness against UK suppliers.”


“The Irish Marine Federation is working hard to assist the industry and ensure it is well placed to take advantage of these small upswings in the market. The recession has had a huge impact on the industry and many companies have not survived, but the core of the industry is still there doing business. They are leaner and eager to keep people engaged in boating around our coasts and on our inland waterways. We have a wonderful marine environment and it’s great to see people out there enjoying it. No industry could ask for better a better foundation than that.”


Published in Marine Federation Team

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