The Dubai International Boat Show attracts yachting enthusiasts from all over the globe. Here’s what to expect at this year’s hotly-anticipated event

Words: Selma Day

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a gateway to some of the world’s most frequented yachting destinations, with boating enthusiasts from across the globe drawn by a blend of historical seafaring traditions and luxurious modern marinas.

Marina infrastructure expansion and a focus on tourism in the past few years have seen the wider region emerge as a centre for leisure boating and a flourishing market for boats and yachts. 

This growth and resilience are encapsulated in the annual Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS), which since its inception in 1992 as a modest event focused on the local maritime industry, has grown in size and popularity to become one of the world’s most prestigious boat shows.

Last year’s show set a new benchmark for boating shows worldwide by showcasing consumer trends that have set new standards for the boating industry. The event featured AED 2.5 billion worth of boats and yachts on display, with over 1,000 companies and brands from 60 countries, attracting visitors to explore a diverse range of boats, from small dinghies to luxurious superyachts, along with the latest maritime accessories, and technologies.

This year, the Dubai International Boat Show, which will take place from March 1-5 at Dubai Harbour, is looking to build on the success of last year, playing host to more than 400 marine-related brands, along with a number of regional launches and global premières.

Alongside all the luxury and super yachts, visitors will also find the latest diving and aquatic innovations. At the heart of the show will be the marina display, where local and international shipyards will showcase their latest yachts, boats and catamarans. Among the superyacht brands showing are Azimut, Cranchi, Feretti, Gulf Craft and Princess Yachts.

Highlighting the best in local boat-building talent on the marina show floor, the UAE Pavilion will showcase some serious multi-outboard centre consoles.

Partnered with the Dubai International Marine Club, DIBS’ fishing competition is open to all, from first-time beginners, to seasoned anglers. And, with diving a big part of UAE culture, the ever-popular Dive MENA is a haven for diving aficionados. It will feature the latest in underwater technology and equipment.

The show will also feature an array of attractions, including the Marina Display where visitors can see an array of state-of-the-art yachts; the watersports show, highlighting a wide range of activities from jet skiing to kite surfing; and Superyacht Avenue, where some of the world’s biggest and most expensive yachts will be on display.