BY APB Staff on 15 Mar 2024

The two-day event marks a milestone in the commitment towards sustainable yachting and marinas in the region.

GCC Smart Yachting Days

The second edition of the annual GCC Smart Yachting Days event, organised by Monaco Marina Management, has come to a successful conclusion in Dubai. 

The two-day event, which took place on 28 and 29 February 2024, marking another milestone in the commitment towards sustainable yachting and marinas in the region. The opening was attended by Jose Marco Casellini, CEO of M3, alongside Bernard D’Alessandri, general secretary of the Yacht Club de Monaco, and Alexia Ribeiro, representing Monaco Capital of Advanced Yachting.

Moderated by Martin Redmayne, day one — the M3 Smart Yachting Days meeting — focused on the GCC region, and brought together a valuable gathering of officials such as Captain Mohamed Mohsen, Head of Yacht Marinas Division from Suez Canal – Egypt, experts from the region, including Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Saudi Arabia, to discuss the future opportunity they all have, to introduce smart ideas, smart yachting, smart marinas and smart ownership.

The overwhelming consensus of the panels and audience is the need to collaborate, communicate and educate at all levels across the region. Never before has there been a bigger opportunity in the yachting world, for this unique network of destinations to create a future proofed, next generation yachting eco-system – with seamless regulation, smart destination marinas, sustainable innovative solutions and a wide network of potential future owners. 

GCC Smart Yachting Days

The speakers highlighted the importance of fostering a culture and education around sustainable practices, highlighting initiatives from maritime academies and forthcoming educational establishments. A consensus emerged on the responsibility of stakeholders and operators to help owners become smarter and sustainable users, which is possible through a combination of skilled operators and educated individuals providing services.

Ongoing collaboration with environmental foundations must be encouraged and supported with the aim of educating and transmitting. Regulators and operators have recognised the need for strategic discussions within the GCC to set achievable targets and encourage a new generation of responsible owners, developers and users.

After the first day of the M3 Smart Yachting Days, the second day moved up a gear, with some excellent panels from the world of marina and property development. The objective of the Smart Talks and Smart Debate was very simple: how do we balance the future-proofing strategy of sustainability in the design, build, and operation of marinas with the expectation of investors and marina developers to drive a significant ROI?

GCC Smart Yachting Days

It was clear from the conversations that the panels recognise the need to refocus the investors’ minds into smart marinas that are focused on the future and that it is critical to invest more into the right materials, waste management and smart technology to reduce initial and long-term impact and waste.

Ideas that governments and regional regulatory bodies need to incentivize investors to build smarter and greener were raised, plus the need for marina operators have a clear responsibility to self-regulate the way they manage energy, waste and their overall impact, until overarching guidelines or regulations appear on the market.

The relationship between yacht designers, builders and crew, with the marina owners was highlighted as a key strategy for the future, where the yachts and the marinas are considered holistically, to ensure that the waste on board and the management systems ashore, are harmonised.

GCC Smart Yachting Days

In addition, the relationship between marinas and the local communities was debated, as education and awareness become a big topic, as marinas are not always the cause of pollution, but the local waste and litter can find its way down to the water by natural run off, impacting the water quality of marinas and creating a bigger waste management problem. The image and perception of yachting and marinas from a sustainability perspective, a local community perspective and from a next generation perspective, highlighted the need for strategic education and awareness projects.

Finally, the announcement of the new M3 Smart Marina certificate was well received by the delegates, as a new high-level standard of excellence was presented by M3, designed to measure smart and efficient operation, with KPIs and goals to reduce and optimise sustainability at all levels of the marina design, build and operation.

GCC Smart Yachting Days

It is clear that not only does the marina market need to set new standards in sustainability and quality from a future proofing perspective, but it is also key that the current network of existing marinas raise their bar and invest in their own sustainability objectives, highlighted as one of the biggest issues the sector has to manage.

Smart marinas are a huge opportunity to demonstrate that the industry is working hard to clean up its act and reduce its overall impact on the planet and the local populations, but reinforcing that investors and marina developers, need to receive smart incentives to deliver on this strategy in order to manage their ROI expectations.

Highlight of these 2 days networking event with the Innovation Pitching Competition. Startups seized the opportunity to present innovative and sustainable solutions for the Yachting and Marina categories of the competition over the course of these two days.

GCC Smart Yachting Days

Event participants evaluated the candidates based the degree of interest, of innovation, of differentiation, but also the positive impact of the solution on the environment and voted for their favorites. Expedition Zero, represented by Andrew Cowen, clinched the GCC Smart Yachting Days Yachting Award 2024 with his solution making net zero adventure tourism a commercial reality, while HY-Plugs, represented by Camille Lopez, won the GCC Smart Yachting Days Marina Award with her support services on hydrogen, electric and biofuel energies for the maritime energy transition. Congratulations were issued to participating startups: Arkhaus, BatteryCheck, Boatmate, JetCycle, Posseidon, Seares, and Ship O’Hoi.

The 2nd Edition of the GCC Smart Yachting Days was supported by the Yacht Club de Monaco, Sindalah, Fichte & Co, GAC, Dry Docks World, Adriatic 42, Burgess, Corinthia Yacht Club, Venini. 

GCC Smart Yachting Days

Organisers Monaco Marina Management say the event concluded on a positive note, having fostered fruitful exchanges and future collaborations among key players to lay the groundwork for a more responsible yachting industry in the region.

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