PHUKET: The Phuket International Boat Show, fondly known by its acronym PIMEX, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with a lineup of exhibitors, brands and products that are second to none, and which have made it Asiaís favorite maritime and lifestyle show.
Phuket Governor, Maitri Inthusut,
opened the event at the Royal Phuket Marina at 10:30am yesterday, and it will run from 11am to 7pm each day until Sunday, March 24 at 6pm. Entry is free.
The show is the brainchild of well known Phuket personality Andy Dowden, and has grown from relatively small beginnings to include the regionís largest in-water display with a range of luxury, power and sail boats ranging from superyachts, through to everyday boats and fun water craft.
Two highlights at this yearís show are the Classic Turkish Gulet, Capricorn
, and the Astondoa 102 foot superyacht, Blosson Uno
, both making their debuts at the show. There are also plenty of "entry-level" fun and trailer craft so you most definitely donít have to be a millionaire to go along, have fun, and even make a purchase to get you out and onto Phuketís glorious waters.
Originally, the show was staged on the "lay day" during the Kingís Cup Race week in December each year and was held at Boat Lagoon. But it has grown over the years to merit its own timing in March each year and the extended four day opening run as we see it today.
As to the location, there can be a no more enticing setting for a marine show than the exhibition hall, boardwalk and marina basin of the elegant Royal Phuket Marina (RPM - click here
Basking in the glorious sunshine, the whole of RPM becomes a veritable hive of activity not just of hard-core marine enthusiasts and boat buyers, but of families, moms and dads and of course legions of little ones for whom there is plenty of diversion and entertainment. But beware, one little girl we know of who visited last year commanded her daddy to buy her a 50 foot cruiser because, "it has bunk beds and theyíre really, really comfy!"
Interested boat buyers have the opportunity to step aboard and experience the vast array of boats on display, discuss all the pros and cons with knowledgeable sales staff, attend cocktail parties and just bask in the vast selection of major brands on display from around the world. Families and kiddies also have a great day out exploring the marine and lifestyle products and services, toys and gadgets, not to mention luxury villas, affordable condos and the myriad of investment opportunities in the residential and lifestyle sector which are on display.
RPMís three terrific restaurants: Skippers, the Royal Phuket Marina Yacht Club and Les Anges are open, starting with a 7:30am breakfast at the latter and they all serve great food and drinks right through until the show closes each day.
Andy Dowden, the PIMEX founder and show director says: "We are celebrating our 10th anniversary this year and we have the best lineups of exhibitors ever. Everything from top-of-the-line luxury power and sail boats down to trailer boats and fun watercraft, gadgets and widgets, services and real estate are showcased.
Exhibitors come from all around the world to exhibit at PIMEX due to its pivotal position in the regional marine industry as both a playground and a hub for marine leisure in Asia. As well as iconic maritime brands like Sunseeker, Northrop and Johnson, Fillipetti Yachts, Jeanneau, Azimut, Ferretti, Fairline, Beneteau, Gulf Craft, Hanse, Pershing and Princess there are numerous yacht charter and chandlery supply companies displaying."
The charter companies in the lineup are Sunsail, Elite Yachting, Asia Marine and Yachtpro, plus you can check out the news about the upcoming Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Race Week and maybe even rent a bareboat to take part in it. Then thereís broader lifestyle exhibitors like Helicam; artist Marilyn Brand with her maritime-themed water colors; and author Colin Mackay with his newly published definitive book "A History of Phuket and the Surrounding Region" all vying for your attention.
"We have over 90 exhibitors from more than 15 countries representing in excess of 100 brands. PIMEX is unique in hosting the largest in-water display of quality boats and together with the air-conditioned marina-side Exhibition Hall there is something for everyone at the show," added Andy Dowden.
The Institute of Marine Engineers and the Royal Institute of Naval Architects are exhibiting this year and are getting their first taste of South East Asia in preparation for a planned conference in 2014.
"The conference will be an exciting addition next year and is part of our commitment to the marine industry in Phuket and the region, to foster growth and development and provide support," said Dowden.
"The 2013 show is more diverse than ever and delivers a wide range of experiences for visitors. Entrance is free of charge and there really is something for everyone so we welcome all to come and join us between March 21-24."
While the cocktail parties swirl around the various yachts and stands, music fills the air and wine and beer tastings are offered up to help cool the fevered brow of frazzled parents. But they have no need to fret as little ones are as beguiled as anyone with the assembled array of lifestyle and maritime playthings gently bobbing in the marina basin, or in the Exhibition Hall.
"Champagne" Charlie Dwyer is the Captain of the famous superyacht Yanneke Too
and one of the regionís most well-known and colorful yachting personalities. He says, "PIMEX is a must if you are in the yachting industry in Asia. It has gone from strength to strength each year and itís informative, innovative, interesting and a lot of fun. And of course PIMEX is not just about boats and products, itís also a great networking and fun venue for everyone."
PIMEX is sponsored by the Phuket Gazette
, PGTV, and the Gazette
's weekly 'Phuket Today' show, broadcast eight times a week on True Visions to 1.9 million subscribers nationwide.For more details click here.
This article first appeared in the current issue of the hard-copy Phuket Gazette newspaper, now on sale at newsstands throughout the island. Digital subscribers may download the full newspaper, this week and every week, by clicking here.