ICOMIA Host Successful Inaugural Boating Industry Conference


Singapore 23-24 April 2024

ICOMIA and Singapore Boating Industry Association presented the ICOMIA Boating Industry Conference 2024 at ONE°15 Marina at Sentosa Cove, Singapore, on 23-24 April 2024.

This inaugural conference in Singapore showcases much of the work ICOMIA is doing to connect the recreational boating industry in Asia. In particular, the work generated by the ICOMIA Asia Representative Su Lin Cheah, who was the principal organiser, co-ordinator and creative force of the event.

The conference was opened by special guest and Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Eng Dih Teo, who spoke about his vision of Singapore becoming one of the world’s leading ports and how to do that whilst meeting the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Key themes of the conference were sustainability and the decarbonisation of the recreational marine industry with ICOMIA’s ongoing Propelling our Future campaign shaping much of the dialogue. ICOMIA President Darren Vaux took to the stage next to deliver the conference Keynote discussing ICOMIA’s landmark research Pathways into Propulsion Decarbonisation in the Recreational Marine Industry and the further research being undertaken by the continuing #propellingourfuture campaign.

Bingrong Ng, Director of the Maritime Decarbonisation Division of MPA Singapore was up next to provide delegates a detailed overview of Singapore’s initiatives in decarbonisation and sustainability at the Port of Singapore. These included the progress with the planned electrification of harbour crafts as well as its engagement with the recreational sector to ensure collaboration in implementation.

The topics then turned to more technical issues, with Dr Grant Suzuki of Yamaha Motor Corporation USA, along with his colleagues Kash Kihira and Austin Murashima from Yamaha Motor Co. Japan, giving a presentation on their innovative approach to embracing the full realm of available technologies to be applied through Yamaha’s entire portfolio of mobility products, both marine and non-marine.

Following a networking lunch, Oscar Siches, a veteran professional in marina operations and design and also member on the ISO marinas committee, led delegates through the ISO process and how to achieve certification or compliance standards in marina management and operations.

Oscar then led an engaging panel discussion on the Pivot Towards Sustainability. Together with panellists Stephen Beng of Phillip Capital and Peter Jacops of WAWA Creations, their discussion showed that best practices in sustainability need to be multi-faceted and pragmatic incorporating not only environmental and social factors but also financial and economic considerations.

The investment community are increasingly making their decisions based on sustainability criteria, showing that both the consumer and institutional investors are becoming increasingly aligned behind sustainability within our industry.

The next panel discussion was moderated by Dr Sanjay Kuttan of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation, together with panellists Max Tan of Haphicraft and Dr Daniel He of The Kinetic Option. Together they showcased Singapore innovation with sustainable products for marine recreation.

Day one of the conference closed with a session close to the hearts of attendees, discussing how we can boat responsibly and better protect the marine environment which we enjoy as recreational boaters and also as marine professionals. Moderator Stephen Beng of Friends of the Marine Park Community led an engaging panel discussion with Klaas J Teule, programme leader of the WWF-Coral Triangle Programme, Chester Gan programme lead for Ocean of WWF Singapore and Wade Pearce, of SG Marine Guide.

The second day of the conference saw attention switch to looking at the issues of sustainability in industry growth and business practices; how we can collaborate globally, working with governments and regulators to secure the best possible legislative, tax and investment environments to help our industry thrive. on international collaboration and how it can be effectively employed.

Another well received discussion was focused on changing consumer expectations and how we as an industry can work towards making boating more affordable and accessible, with shared ownership schemes proving to be transformational in this respect and good for the environment too.

The leisure marine industry creates tangible economic value of the recreational marine sector and transforms communities across sectors, from infrastructure and skills development, to economic and environmental protection. Backed by the right data and analysis, such pertinent information will create the basis for discussions with governments when trying to improve the business environment.

ICOMIA CEO Joe Lynch said: “We promised you a conference that would focus on sustainability in every sense of the word, a conference relevant to everyone, regardless of their role within our industry and thanks to our amazing contributors and our audience from every corner of the world, we delivered against this promise.”

“Collectively we are responsible for a huge industry that benefits the health and well-being of our participants and local host communities alike and when we collaborate, we create a sustainable, successful and safe industry to pass on to the next generation”.

The ICOMIA Boating Industry Conference was organised and held in association with ICOMIA member Singapore Boating Industry Association in conjunction with the Singapore Yachting Festival. If you would like further information about the conference please email info@icomia.com.

Pictured l-r. Dr Kim Choong-Hwan – Korea Marine Industry Association, Indhra Kaushal Rajapaksha – Chamber of Marine Industries Sri Lanka, Darren Vaux – ICOMIA, Joe Lynch – ICOMIA, YP Loke – Singapore Boating Industry Association, Ronnie Wang – Yachting Encounters Asia. Image copyright John Yuen 2024.