by Dom Wiseman

The 2018 Sydney International Boat Show is well and truly underway with crowds already making their presence felt on both the marina and in the halls. I’ve attended quite a few boat shows and can honestly say that on day one it seemed a little busier than usual. If you’re looking to head in for the weekend be sure to get there early to avoid the crowds.

As always there is a host of events and things to see and do, from the fishing stage to the new product manufacturers are showcasing, sometimes for the first time. And let us not forget the show specials.

For the sporty family, The GRE Marine stand is stuffed full of wakeboarding and water skiing boats. The Wakesetters are dedicated wakeboarding and wake-surfing models up to 23 feet. They have more features than modern cars including computer controlled wakes and even seating positions. And more cup holders than you’ll ever use. They are perfect for the sports orientated family.

Also at the GRE Marine stand and released for the first time is a remake of the original Malibu Response. Unlike the current model which has an open bow seating plan, the remake of this old favourite has the original closed bow and is pitched as an affordable entry point for water skiing families.

For avid fishermen, the Northbank 750HT on display at the show is impressive with no expense spared on this offshore weapon. Outriggers, live bait station and rod holders aplenty offer enormous versatility for anglers with the plush soft closed cell foam floor a pleasure to stand on. A large array of Garmin electrics are fitted ensuring anglers can go anywhere they wish in safety.

For those looking for something a little larger the Jeanneau Merry Fisher 1095 is a delight with slick European styling perfect for a family looking for a boat that can cover day cruising but also deliver the necessary flexibility for overnight stays. The Arvor range is another one to check out with a similar feel with a slightly more fishing slant on some models.

The cruiser market is also well represented with the X60 at Maritimo taking pride of place on their display. The innovative Beach Club which opens up at the back of the boat is impressive and the internal finishes ooze class and sophistication. They also released the renders of the X50 which is the next boat to come in this impressive new direction for the company. Other manufacturers like Riviera have decided that its time they got back into the smaller end of town with the release of the 39 getting quite a bit of attention.

Cobalt are located on the marina with the surf styled R5 among a host of pleasure boats. This dedicated wake surfing model retains the excellent finish Cobalt are known for in a large format sports boat perfect for the active family. Back in the halls and if you’re a fishing nut. Cruise Craft have on display their new hull, the F360M. Don’t be fooled by the moniker though, this is a 6.35m centre console capable as an inshore and offshore platform.

If you’re looking for a large family boat with the ability to easily tow it anywhere, the Whittley CR2800 is on display at the Hunts Marine stand in the exhibition halls. It’s fully kitted out with barbeque, rear bait board, kitchenette and toilet facilities.

One of the fastest growing segments is the personal watercraft category and both Seadoo and Yamaha had large displays. The 2018 platform for Seadoo is one of the best I’ve seen with modular seating offering versatility and comfort for owners. Some models are even compete with onboard stereo systems and the new Link system of accessories allowing owners to fit or remove anything they like.

Raymarine, Lowrance and Garmin all have large electronics displays with Raymarine being located in the halls and on the marina. Their XL Axiom units are impressive with Netflix and game capability.

And that’s just a sample of what we could take in over one day. If you’re in the market, or even if you aren’t the show is open till Monday August 6th. If it’s all too much, you can sit on the entertainment deck and watch it all go by with a beverage.

Check out our gallery from the Sydney International Boat Show to see more of what’s on offer.