The recreational boating sector is the one that best reflects the economy’s waterline. After boat sales plummeted starting in 2008, since 2013 the trend has been upward, and during the pandemic it has been one of the sectors that has grown the most.
The Barcelona Boat Show, which will be held from October 12 to 17, has as one of its main objectives to popularize interest in the sea.
– Is the nautical sector in Spain on the crest of the wave of recovery?
–The pandemic has generated an asymmetric crisis and while tourism has gone down, the nautical sector has gone up. Boat registrations have grown by 13% up to September compared to 2019 and more than 30% compared to 2020. It is clear that the pandemic has benefited the nautical sector and the sector is riding the wave of recovery.
-To what is due?
– People have been saving for a couple of years, and whoever wants a boat buys an illusion. The pandemic has forced people to be isolated and unable to travel. Therefore, having a small boat is a good solution for the family.
– Is it a change in trend or are we facing a conjunctural bubble?
–It is here to stay because it is safe leisure and a tourist alternative in contact with nature. The Spanish nautical fleet is only 200,000 boats. We are in a wave of growth, but there is still a long way to go to recover the levels of 2008. The nautical sector goes with the economy, and if all the forecasts indicate that in 2022 and 2023 the recovery will take place, the nautical sector will accompany us.
–This growth has been thanks to the charter market, which makes this type of leisure affordable?
-The charter has helped a lot because they are new boats and you can handle them without a captain. The first buyers of boats are those who rent them and thus push the growth of the sector.
–Has so much demand plunged the sector into a stock crisis?
–The pandemic has paralyzed the shipyards. Now, delivery times are long, also because the electronic components that make up the ships take time to serve, as in the case of cars. If you want to buy a boat, do it now or get in line. Because in the face of increased demand there is no product, and neither is second-hand. If you wait to order it at the end of the year, it will be delivered to you in 2023.
– How to strengthen this favorable wind?
–We were already growing until 2008, when the financial crisis came. The fall was great and now we are in a recovery phase, not so much to consolidate. The advantage is that each day it is more complicated to travel and by boat it is not. For example, I have been sailing to Greece this summer and I have not had any problems.
– What objectives does the room have?
–We have an obligation to popularize sailing, because it is not true that it is elitist, since nowadays you can rent a sailboat for 900 euros a day for 3 couples, or an outboard for 200 euros a day. 90% of Spanish boats are less than 8 meters, among other reasons because the orography of our things is small coves.
– Are boats that spread a kind of wings during the day to enjoy large terraces and platforms?
“That’s for sunbathing.” Just as the children look for adrenaline and speed, the couple look for somewhere to sunbathe. Sustainability and electrification are much more prominent trends in boating right now.
–90% of Spanish pleasure boats are less than 8 meters in length. Size Matters?
–Spain is the only country that, in addition to VAT, adds a 12% registration tax for boats over 8 meters. The Government must take into account that not only the rich buy boats, but all kinds of users and even small businesses. At a minimum, non-polluting boats, such as sailboats or electric boats, should not be taxed so much, because whoever does not want to pay more goes to France or Italy to buy it.
–With 8,000 km of coastline, where does Spain fail to have so little nautical fondness?
– Indeed, we have an average of 4.2 boats per thousand inhabitants, half that of the United Kingdom and six times less than Croatia, which is a very long country full of islands, like the Nordics. In addition, the governments of those countries have helped to strengthen the nautical sector and its shipyards, as Italy has done.
– Are there more degrees and licenses?
–Each year, more than 50,000 people obtain degrees. That means that there is a hobby and desire, because the fear of sailing has disappeared, since technologies have made everything easier. For example, with the mobile you can control the heading and all the parameters from the stern. You usually start by renting a boat, then you buy a small one and if you get the hang of it, you buy a slightly larger one.