Exciting new technologies are disrupting every facet of the marine industry with a particular focus on safety, efficiency and inclusion.

There’s no attitude of set and forget at D’ALBORA, we’re constantly striving to improve every level of our business by engaging with and implementing the best new technologies and ideas. Which is why it was such an honour to join the innovation panel at the recent Marine 17 conference.

Sitting alongside Mike McKiernan, Trent Bagnall and Jessica Watson OAM provided great insights into expected marine industry trends, the challenges we need to overcome in embracing innovation and how D’ALBORA Marinas can turn these opportunities into a better services and experiences for our members.

The main concept discussed was the generational changes occurring as boat ownership moves from predominantly Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to include Millennials. In other industries, Millennials have shown a pattern of share economy disruption and an appreciation of experiences over things.

Primary amongst these changes is an increase in share boating concepts, a practice that has grown considerably over the last three years. The new breed of boater has also shown a willingness to pay a premium for access to quick and simple boating experiences. There are a number of value-adding concepts catering to this trend, which D’ALBORA is already exploring. I’ll be writing more on this in later blogs!

Another popular idea was an Airbnb type service for boats and marinas. Finding equitable ways to engage in and cater to this new business model will be imperative for all marinas over the coming years.

The most significant day-to-day impact on boating and marinas may be the revolution in battery efficiency leading to a decline in traditional combustion engine use by recreational power boats. Power stations may replace jetty based fuel pumps, requiring new or upgraded infrastructure at marinas, while electric engines have less moving parts and will become more reliable and require less maintenance.

From changes like these, new careers and markets will be born and evolve. Diesel mechanics may have to upskill to electric motor specialists, marina managers may need to learn how to embrace boat sharing and marina CEOs may need to start writing blogs.

It’s not just jobs, but whole of industry relationships and infrastructure will need to update. The change brought to the taxi industry by Uber’s introduction delivered many valuable lessons. Disrupted industry, disruptors and governments need to work together to ensure innovation is encouraged. Equally important, is ensuring those industries and workers learning to embrace these changes are provided the training and services they need to adapt.

Finally, and most importantly, the panel saw women in the industry as having the greatest immediate untapped potential to deliver innovation. In our historically male dominated industry, female leadership and innovation has never been truly realised. Bringing women to the fore in strategy, engagement and decision making will ensure our services and products remain resilient as we head deeper into the 21st Century.

The boating industry will need to innovate and roll with change or be left behind. Innovation waits for no one.