The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a nexus for leisure boating connoisseurs and a gateway to some of the world’s most frequented yachting destinations. Boating enthusiasts from across the globe visit the country, 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 foremost centre for leisure boating and a flourishing market for boats and yachts. Across the Middle East, the leisure boats market is expected to grow to US$ 2,947.1 million by 2027 from US$ 1,840.0 million in 2017, growing at a CAGR of 4.9%, predicts Business Markets Insights.
This growth and resilience are encapsulated in the annual Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS), which underscores the region’s prominence on the global nautical stage. Each edition of the show sets new benchmarks for boating shows worldwide by showcasing remarkable consumer trends that create new standards for the whole industry.
As the marinas of Dubai prepare for an influx ahead of the landmark 30th DIBS outing from 28 February – 3 March, we showcase some of the UAE’s top marine destinations, with a few hidden gems beyond the emirates’ borders.
Home of DIBS, Dubai stands as a pinnacle of maritime sophistication. The man-made Dubai Marina offers a combination of top-tier facilities and services that set benchmarks in maritime luxury. Home to Dubai Marina Yacht Club, and stunning seafront destination Dubai Harbour, by day, it’s a boaters’ haven and by night a vibrant bustling nightlife waterfront.
A stunning archipelago with over 200 islands, the UAE capital boasts a sailing legacy that stretches back centuries while enjoying state-of-the-art marinas and yacht clubs that offer modern amenities and sociable atmospheres.
Ras Al Khaimah
The Al Hamra Marina in RAK is a bustling hub where one can appreciate both the beauty of the ocean and the unique coastal topography. Historically, one of RAK’s most celebrated sons, Aḥmad ibn Mājid, was a famous seaman and navigator and the city’s maritime influence extends to the present day; in 2023, long-term DIBS exhibitor Sunreef Yachts Middle East entered into a cooperation with RAK Maritime City for the development of a new facility there.
The Khalid Lagoon offers a maritime locale where typically natural serenity and urban architectural splendour coalesce. Each December, crowds gather for the noise and excitement of the grand prix F1H20 – single-seater inshore circuit Formula 1 Powerboat and Aqua Bike racing.
Aside from its impressive commercial maritime capabilities, Fujairah is a haven for yachting enthusiasts. Deep-sea fishing and coral reef diving here offer more excitement for adventurous souls. Using a yacht as a launchpad for these activities is the perfect way to experience them, whether you opt for a luxury charter service or navigating the waters of the region aboard your own vessel.
With its natural port and creek, Ajman’s unspoiled marine environment is ideal for a more tranquil boating experience. It is also the headquarters for one of the world’s leading shipwards and DIBS stalwarts, Gulf Craft, highlighting the emirate’s commercial maritime significance.
Celebrating The Maritime Potential Of The UAE
At the 2023 edition of DIBS, AED 2.5 billion worth of boats and yachts were on display, with over 1,000 companies and brands from 60 countries, attracting thousands of visitors to explore a diverse range of boats, along with the latest maritime accessories, and technologies.
In 2024, DIBS will again bring the best of the Middle East’s maritime industry together to celebrate the boundless potential of the ocean, expand the frontiers of nautical innovation, and strengthen the communal bond between passionate seafarers.
We look forward to seeing you at the event! Follow us on Instagram for regular updates: @dibshow