Philip Easthill - key ingredients for positive change in the boating industry

Philip Easthill at the blue innovation dock – photo: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

This year’s boot Düsseldorf, the first re-emergence in three years of the worlds’ largest boat show, was a tremendous success, with 16 packed halls, close to a quarter of a million attendees, and an excellent atmosphere amongst exhibitors and visitors.

One of the highlights for boating professionals was the blue innovation dock, a week-long platform of high-level presentations and panel discussions featuring well-known figures across the industry. Central to this was European Boating Industry (EBI)’s Philip Easthill, who kindly offered his time to answer some questions:

  • What sort of innovative developments did you see / reconnect with at the show that most inspired you?

The sheer number of electric boats and engine solutions was quite impressive, but there were a lot of exciting developments to see across new material being used, innovative engine solutions, fuels and components. I have undoubtedly already forgotten some. It is great to see the ingenuity and amazing products that our industry builds. Also at the blue innovation dock, we had a pitching session with start-ups in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ set-up that showed some amazing solutions that can make a difference to sustainability in the future. We also had some great presentations of the partners of the blue innovation dock that were promising for the future.

  • What do you perceive as the key ingredients within the boating industry for positive change?

Four main items: 1) Cooperation across the entire sector, including consumers and critical voices; 2) common understanding of sustainability; 3) where possible, common sustainability indicators; and 4) regulation and policy that enables innovation and the green transition.

  • What will it take to attract the necessary funding to help enable the green/digital transition? 

Public funding can and must be part of the solution, but it will always remain just a drop in the ocean. Private funding by companies and external investors are therefore key. This requires a comprehensive vision and a clear plan to use investment where it can make the biggest impact.

  •  What are your priorities at EBI for this year and the next? 

We will continue to lead the discussion at EU level in policy and regulation that affects our sector, trying to push for positive approaches. Many of the topics that were on the agenda of the blue innovation dock and International Breakfast Meeting will be taken forward in our work. This continues to be guided by our mission: Advancing and representing a sustainable boating and nautical tourism industry #MadeInEurope. This year, we are pushing the promotion of Made In Europe, which is intended to showcase the value and breadth of our industry from manufacturing, to services and nautical tourism.

Many thanks to Philip Easthill for an excellent job creating space for these important discussions at boot Düsseldorf, and for taking the time out for this interview.

Looking forward to an exciting year ahead!

Melanie Symes – Innovamarina