Countdown to the Venice Boat Show: Focus on Sustainability

Countdown to the Venice Boat Show: Focus on Sustainability

Venice returns to the forefront of the nautical world from the 31st of May to the 4th of June with the fourth edition of its Boat Show, held once more in the historic Arsenal, which for centuries functioned as the beating heart of the Most Serene Republic’s naval power.

This edition will last for five days, following the trends of the other most important national and international exhibitions. The numbers this event generates, which continuously grow year after year, confirm the deep bonds that still tie the city to the sea. Its exhibitors continue to champion the event: indeed, the largest national and international groups have already confirmed their presence. The sailing sector shows consistent growth, with an increase in attendance of over 50% from last year’s edition, much like that of electric propulsion vessels, which has itself grown 30% and reaffirms its green mission.

The Venice Boat Show, which in 2022 received the BEA- Best Event Awards prize as best exhibition of the year, is organised by Vela spa, on behalf of the Municipality of Venice, and features the essential collaboration of the Italian Navy. Aside from exhibiting the most innovative vessels on the international stage, both sailing and motorised, the Boat Show offers a social context extremely rich in incentives, business relationship opportunities and entertainment for clients and exhibitors, right in the heart of Venice, both within the Show and beyond. Here technology, design, culture and environmental sustainability alternate each other to produce a unique spectacle.

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The Arsenal is composed of 55,000 square metres of water basins, inside of which 1,100 linear metres of piers will be installed, alongside 30,000 metres of external exhibition spaces. The large warehouses, which in the past would have housed the construction facilities of Venetian galleys, will now host the best elements of Venetian nautical design and furnishing, as well as its artisanal shipbuilding, for a total of 5,000 square metres. More than 220 exhibitors will be present (180 being Italian, with the rest joining from the United Kingdom, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Spain, Germany, France, Austria, Montecarlo, Sweden, Denmark and Finland) who will in turn bring 300 vessels to Venice, 250 of which will be in the water, creating a total ship length of 2.7 kilometres.

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“I am waiting for you all, from the 31st of May to the 4th of June, to celebrate local and international boating with us at the Arsenal”. This is the invitation that the mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, has extended to the peoples of the sea, from sailors to enthusiasts, but also to families and the youth, while presenting the fourth edition of this event which will put on display the best that Italian and global boating have to offer, and, simultaneously, allow you to spend your day discovering the sports and careers tied to the sea. “Without sea travel there is no Venice, and investing in this sector is, in our eyes, the central pillar of our exhibition. The Boat Show is not just a market, but also, and perhaps more importantly, a moment to exchange knowledge, business skills and pay close attention to sustainability - continued Brugnaro - it is precisely for these reasons we consider it important for young people to come to the Show, to witness the professionalism and the careers that boating can offer them in the future, especially by visiting the stands of local and international shipyards. It is also of paramount importance to work on sustainability, another challenge we have taken up: the inauguration of the Biennale della Sostenibilità (Sustainability Biennale) during the Boat Show confirms these intentions, and the synergy between these two events should serve as a clear sign of the efforts we are dedicating to this end”. Sustainability that, clarifies the first citizen, “the Boat Show brings to all who enter the Arsenal: from the boats to the motors, charging stations and experts who, during the Show, will speak about this important challenge”. The mayor also extends an invitation for people to arrive to the Boat Show by sea, taking advantage of the marinas of Certosa and Sant’Elena which offer special rates for the occasion: “those visitors that wish to travel here by boat are our special guests, arriving by sea is the most authentic of entries and a unique experience which can only be achieved in this very special city”. He concludes “opening the Arsenal to the Boat Show, and thus to the market that this sector brings, is an extremely important moment for the city and one which frees the borders of the sea to the entire world”.

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The large groups which lead both national and international shipbuilding efforts have confirmed their presence. Ferretti Group, Azimut Benetti and Sanlorenzo are returning. “Let us think to beauty of sea demonstrations: what can be more exciting that setting out against the splendid backdrop of the Arsenal? - declares Alberto Galassi, Ceo Ferretti Group, which has believed in the Boat Show since its very first edition - we see Venice as our home, an intrinsic stage and an exclusive boutique. And here is where we will present our global preview of the new Wallywhy150, the latest extraordinary model of our Wallywhy line. Many thanks and congratulations are in order to the city Administration for how it has nurtured a Show which, aside from being a beautiful reality, is also an event of unquestioned international prestige”.

Giovanna Vitelli, president of Azimut Benetti, shares this enthusiasm, emphasising that Venice represents the crown jewel of what it means to be Italian. “It was very important for us to open a Show aimed at the Eastern European market and focused on the theme of sustainability, both strategic elements in our sector - she remarked - I should mention that Venice, so rich in cultural events alongside its magnificent historical and artistic heritage, represents such a strong attraction to our clients that we struggle to keep them within the Show to view our vessels. I would also like to use this opportunity to compliment myself with the event’s organisers for the expertise and professionalism they have displayed since its very first edition, something which should not be taken for granted in such a new event”.

“Sanlorenzo has, for several years, been investing in Venice, and in 2024 will inaugurate the headquarters of our Fondazione Sanlorenzo in a palace right in front of the Chiesa della Salute - added Massimo Perotti, Ceo Sanlorenzo Yacht - we are founding members of Venice World Capital of Sustainability which will launch its own dedicated Biennale during the Boat Show. Sanlorenzo has been increasingly sensitive to these issues, which are strategic to our sector. We will be present at the Show, in the scenic small drainage basin under the Lorenzo Quinn installation, along with the other America’s Cup tender boats, in a 10 metre vessel fitted with foils, fuel cells and without a thermal motor, which can maintain the speed of 50 knots for 180 miles at zero emissions; this vessel will sail alongside American Magic in the Barcellona match race to be be held in 2024”. 

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The motorised boat selection is completed by the exhibitors Sunseeker, Beneteau, Rizzardi , Absolute, FIM, Pardo, Loy Explorer, Green Line,Sirena and Arcadia. First time exhibitors in Venice include the shipyards Invictus, Fountaine Pajot, Nautor Swan, Solaris Power, Prestige, Rio Yacht, Sense Yach and Omikron. The motor boat flagship will be the super yacht Ducale 120, a displacement craft over 36 metres in length constructed by the Ocean King shipyard of Chioggia.

The return of the sailing boat is significant, and it will be the undisputed protagonist of the P3 pier with 30 boats ranging between 10 and 30 metres. The attendance by the shipyards in this sector has thus doubled from the last edition. Flagship of the contemporary production sailing line will be the Swan 65 constructed by the Nautor Swan shipyard, with the pier also displaying the 30 metre Whimsea built by the CNB shipyard and designed by Studio Brenta. Returning attendees include the shipyards Beneteau, Lagoon, Dufour, More, Jeaneau e Pegasus e Italia Yacht, while first time attendees to the Arsenal consist of Elan, Bavaria, Solaris, Neo Yacht, Felci, Kufner e Hallberg-Rassy.

“This is the first year our shipyard participates in the Boat Show - states Federico Gambini, president of Solaris Yachts - we watched the previous editions closely, and became convinced we had to participate, bringing two sailing vessels 40 and 50 feet long respectively, and a motorised vessel 44 feet in length. We have been close by in our historic shipyard of Aquileia for 50 years now, and also at Forlì with Solaris Power, thus Venice represents a strategic location for both headquarters”.

Substantial growth can also be witnessed in the electrical sector, with over 50 electrical vessels being exhibited, a 30% increase compared to the previous edition. A trend which matches the demand for ever more advanced boats, both from the perspective of their environmental footprint, itself increasingly reduced by the use of sustainable materials, but also in the form of greater comfort. Returning to the Arsenal are X Shore, Candela, Green Line 40, Alfastreet Marine, Fap (Falegnameria Artigianale Pesce) and Rand Boats. New attendees meanwhile include Free Power, Propel, Laneva, Green Dream Boats, and Amperetta. Boats powered by the energy reaped from hydrogen fuel will also be present: the French catamaran Sea Bubble and the Hydrocell project dedicated to this transformation. Sustainable ocean going will also feature a competitive event in the third edition of the E-regatta, the scenic parade on the Grand Canal and the sporting events held inside the Arsenal’s basin.

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The operative director of Vela, the company which organises the exhibition on behalf of the Municipality of Venice, Fabrizio D’Oria, highlights that “The Venice Boat Show represents a quality element within our wider schedule of international events, but also offers an important moment of reflection on sustainability, which begins from the oldest city of the future”.

“In this new edition we can see the renewed presence of the large international shipyards, as well as the acquisition of new segments of the nautical market - adds the commercial director of the Venice Boat Show, Alberto Bozzo - we have registered a 50% increase in attendance in the sailing sector. This is a sign that the Venice Boat Show has cemented itself as one of the most important and worthwhile exhibitions in this city”.

The Show boasts the essential collaboration of the Italian navy which, as declared by Division Admiral Andrea Petroni, commander of the Institute of Maritime Military Studies and of the Italian Navy Garrison of Venice “is constantly employed in the conservation and enhancement of its own infrastructure inside the historic Arsenal of Venice, but also in optimising the moments this splendid location can be accessed by the public, such as during the Boat Show”. Beyond personnel, vehicles and infrastructure, the Navy will also be present with its vessels Ponza, Cabrini, Tremiti and San Giusto.

The event is also supported by the Camera di Commercio di Venezia e Rovigo (Chamber of Commerce of Venice and Rovigo) and the Agenzia Ice (Foreign Commercial Institute Agency). Matteo Zoppas, president of Ice, highlighted that in 2022 the global sales of nautical shipbuilding amounted to around 7 billion euros, and exceeded 3 billion euros in exports. “The Venice Boat Show has witnessed rapid and important growth, and represents a strategic location in which Ice wishes to invest its resources — affirms Zoppas — this year we will bring 30 operators and international journalists to help bring this exhibition to the forefront of global boating”. Massimo Zanon, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Venice and Rovigo, instead focused on the fact that the Venice Boat Show has its own unique characteristics which make it stand out from other exhibitions: the location itself, the name of Venice and the special history of its shipyards 

The five days of the exhibition will also provide for entertainment with regattas and trophies, along with an incredibly rich program which features, amongst other events, the arrival of the Pavia Venezia, the Palio delle Repubbliche Marinare (Maritime Republics Regatta) on Saturday the 3rd of June, and, the following day, the second edition of the Venice Boat Show Cup. Moreover, there will be many opportunities for families and children to relax with activities, catering services, laboratories and a rediscovery of the sites of the Arsenal.

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As always, the Boat Show will also offer debating and cultural exchange activities with some fifty seminars, press conferences and public presentations scheduled (highlights include the initiatives Assomarinas, Assonautica, RINA and Venice World Capital of Sustainability), centred around innovation, service providing, training and sustainability; meetings which will give workers a platform to speak on the many issues involved in this constantly growing sector. A fixed appointment returns with the 2023 edition of the Concorso internazionale per la selezione di Studi e Progetti di Barche - Navigazione sostenibile (International competition for the selection of boating projects and studies - sustainable navigation) supported by the Fondazione Musei Civici (Civic Museums Foundation) and dedicated to projects which will present innovative solutions for the sustainable and flexible use of recreational charter units, characterised by their reduced environmental impact.