Venice Boat Show 2023 welcomes record number of boats at fourth edition

5 June 2023 • by Katia Damborsky

The Venice Boat Show has welcomed another record number of boats at its fourth edition, which wrapped up on Sunday (4 June) after five days in the city's historic Arsenale.

Among the 300+ boat lineup, 240 yachts were on display on the water. Alberto Bozzo, organiser of the Venice Boat Show, confirmed that the number of boats topped last year’s 25 per cent uptick, and also saw an increased focus on new models and a larger size segment.

While numbers are increasing year-on-year, the highlight of the show remains its boutique approach and pre-season slot in the boat show calendar, with the prime location acting as another key driver, according to Bozzo. 

Chris Head, sales director of Sunseeker London, agreed, saying the desirable location is “important” for attracting clients, exhibitors and dealers to the region and its strategic spot shouldn't be underestimated. The Venice Boat Show has become the key boating event for Croatia, Montenegro and the wider Adriatic, according to Head.  “There’s a lot of people who won’t go to Düsseldorf,” he pointed out. “This has become the main show for them.”

Similarly to last year, the show aims to play to its strengths with initiatives like its partnership with two local marinas that provide complementary berthing services to owners looking to visit the show by yacht. The show also aims to set itself apart by “not trying to emulate” any other yachting events. “We focus more on design, eco-sustainability,” said Bozzo. “In Venice, you will not find all the expensive displays of accessories, ropes, sails, etcetera, you’ll find more design-driven products and research into new technologies and innovations”. Biodiesel and hydrogen were two of the alternatively-powered boats on show in the Arsenale. 

New releases attracting attention this year included the brand new 24.1-metre wallywhy150, which made its international debut, and Sunseeker’s 17.1-metre Superhawk 55, which premiered at boot Düsseldorf earlier this year. The largest yacht at the show was 36.8-metre Vayus from Venice-based shipyard Ocean King, the largest yacht to appear in the Arsenale in several years. 

The level of interest was substantial this year, according to Marco Ballarin, project manager at Ocean King, with plenty of visitors touring the boats as well as a high number of yachts taking advantage of the lagoon's calm waters for sea trials.  “It’s a real privilege to be here, as a Venetian shipyard,” added Ballarin. ”We feel like we’re at home.”  For Italian yards like Ocean King, shows like Cannes Yachting Festival provide more international coverage — but exhibiting in Venice comes with a “sense of pride”. 

Italian players like Sanlorenzo, Ferretti Group and Azimut | Benetti were joined by a number of other international brands, including Greece-based Omikron bringing its 18.4-metre OT60 and Sirena Yachts showcasing some of its latest models from Turkey. Of the 220 exhibitors at the show, 81 per cent were Italian and the remainder were international.

Key differences to the show's format included the duration — while last year's event stretched across nine days, organisers opted for a five-day format in 2023. The former construction sheds that line the Arsenale were also not in use as much this year, with exhibitors focusing their efforts on waterfront stands as opposed to interior lounge spaces. The only exception was Ferretti Group, a stalwart supporter of the Venice Boat Show, with their large lounge space directly opposite a selection of boats from across the Ferretti Group portfolio.

“Although it’s a fairly new show, we believe it’s growing,” commented Head, speaking on the opening day of the show. “It’s a pre-season opportunity [and] we sold boats at the show last year. As it gets more well-known across the industry, I believe more people will attend.”

More about this yacht

Ocean King   36.8 m •  2023