An association is defined as ‘a group of people organised for a joint purpose’, and, it would seem, the superyacht industry has no shortage of groups with strong opinions and aligned purposes. And yet, for all our associating, have we successfully capitalised on the potential power of a unified voice? For all our MYBA, IYBA, ECPY, ISS, UCINA, HISWA, Nautica Italiana, SYBAss, ICOMIA, LYBRA, APSA, Superyacht Australia, PYA, Superyacht UK and more, have we missed a trick?
A number of, if not all associations have benefited the superyacht community in one way or another, and some have taken great strides forward. For instance, during the IMO’s development of the second-generation stability requirements, SYBAss and its members were able to show that proposed requirements and calculation methods were unreasonably strict and not consistent when applied to yachting hull forms, such examples could be explicated ad infinitum for each association. The PYA has worked closely with the MCA and other associations to provide superyacht crew with a voice.
Take any boat show, any networking event, any forum and within a stone’s throw you would be able to make contact with a member of each and every one of the above associations, and yet, have we failed to capitalise on the proximity we have to one another? As a journalist, I frequently speak to individuals of different nationalities, different titles, different backgrounds, but with common goals and opinions. The question is, have we created the necessary structures to channel these voices?
The superyacht market is an industry driven by passion, but visceral want and will are not sufficient to drive change. The successes of the above associations stand testament to the strength of structure. While the industry is maturing at an ever-greater pace, it would be a brave person who claimed that it was the finished article. Is it time to stop clinging to grass roots movements and commit to embracing the structures that have been the lifeblood of markets greater than our own?
Take for instance the Cruise Liner Industry Association (CLIA). Established in 1975, CLIA is the world’s largest cruise trade association, and has a global remit. With clear objectives, data, active members and a structure that rivals any successful business, CLIA has provided the cruise liner industry with a platform to affect its own future, and commands serious influence at the highest levels. Bit does the superyacht industry yet possess such an association and, furthermore, do we require such an entity?
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