Featuring passionate discussion and lively debate, the Middle East Yachting Conference united the maritime lifestyle community with a host of local and international speakers and panellists prior to the launch of Dubai International Boat Show, which runs until 13th March at Dubai Harbour.
More than 100 leaders from across the sector gathered at St Regis The Palm to discuss an array of topics including the empowerment of women in yachting, sustainability, the rise of cryptocurrency, design in yachting, and the effect of the pandemic on the maritime industry.
Aligning with International Women’s Day and following a keynote speech from Sahah Al Rasti, the UAE’s first female captain, the conference opened with a panel discussion regarding the empowerment of women in the sector. Moderated by Abeer AlShaali, the Deputy MD of Gulf Craft, Al Rasti was joined on the stage by Claire Ferandier Sicard, CEO and Founder of Environmental Training for Yacht Crew, Chloé Zaied, CEO at Hynova, and Dasha Moranova, CEO of Dasha Moranova Designs as the five women discussed everything from gender equality in the industry and its evolution to the importance of acceptance, self-belief, and male support.
“The UAE represents a great place for women to work and thrive, and there is no doubt the UAE has been a leader in supporting women in the maritime sector – identifying the best training and development programmes to help us grow,” said Al Rasti. “Women of the marine world are resilient and can challenge any ideas. We do need some more awareness as women in the segment though. In a largely male-dominated industry, we need to challenge ourselves and prove that we can not only succeed, but also work hand-in-hand with our male counterparts to drive the industry forward.”
Moranova, who relayed her personal experience of once being one of just four women in a company of 40-50 staff, echoed those sentiments with a stirring monologue. “To be a woman in this industry, you have to be brave, you have to stand up for yourself, and you have to be seen,” she said.
One of the anchor topics of this year’s Dubai International Boat Show is sustainability, with several eco-friendly launches planned throughout. Aligning with their position as enablers, Luis Marinho Falcão, Head of Sustainable Growth at Faro Boats, and Francis Lapp, CEO of Sunreef Yachts, joined previous speakers Zaied and Sicard on stage to discuss the future of yachting and how innovation is driving change.
“Everything is possible if you have both vision and intent,” said Falcão. “We don’t know what the future is in terms of sustainable powered solutions, whether it’s electric, hydrogen, or whatever the next generation of young inventors think up, but what we do know is that it is vital to keep heading in this direction and seeing where this path takes us. Our Faro5 Solar Set is the first fully autonomous, 100% sustainable boating solution and we are excited to showcase it at the Dubai International Boat Show.”
Cryptocurrency, a topic that has taken the world by storm, was also high on the agenda with Saqr Ereiqat, co-founder of Crypto Oasis Sentio, providing a quick introduction to how blockchain can change the maritime industry.
Th 28th edition of Dubai International Boat Show, the regional yachting industry’s first large-scale, in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic is now open and running until 13 March. Organised by Dubai World Trade Centre, the event will be the first to take place at the glimmering Dubai Harbour. The five-day show is set to welcome more than 800 brands, from superyachts to watersports and F&B offerings such as Black Tap and Nikki Beach.
Dubai International Boat Show 2022 runs from 9th-13th March at Dubai Harbour, the event’s Venue Host and VIP Registration Partner. On-site registration will not be available; registration must be completed in advance via www.boatshowdubai.com