The major challenges of yachting according to the Federation of Nautical Industries

On the eve of the opening of the Salon Nautic, Yves Lyon-Caen, President of the Fédération des Industries Nautiques, presented us with the major challenges facing the nautical industry over the next decade.

A boating industry in slowdown

At the end of 2019, the nautical subsidiary represents 5.3 billion in turnover (services, luxury yachting, rental, etc.) within the French economic landscape. The sector employs 44?000 employees on permanent and fixed-term contracts, not to mention temporary jobs linked in particular to seasonal activities, which generate significant job creation.

Exports represent 76.8% of French production, a figure that is increasing from year to year. Indeed, 9 out of 10 boats are destined for international destinations "A figure that can be explained by the quality of the products, but also by a French market that is not very dynamic compared to the international market", explains the President of the FIN.

Yves Lyon-Caen added that "the industry is living at the rhythm of these shows and that there are fairly strong continuities of previous trends. Thus, continental Europe is well oriented, the British trend is suffering from the stress of Brexit and the North American continent is slowing down. The landscape is tending to slow down somewhat with some market segments that may be more impacted than others (sail, engine, monohull, multihull...)."

The 3 main challenges of the nautical industry

"These are subjects on which our future industrial future and the future competitiveness of our sector is at stake" introduced Yves-Lyon Caen.

1 - Managing the ecological transition while remaining competitive through innovation

The idea is to create eco-organizations and implement new approaches in response to the ecological transition:

Materials and circular economy . These are issues that affect resins and fibres and require close collaboration with plastics and chemistry . "What materials will we use in 5 or 10 for the economy circulaire?? No one knows that."

Propulsion : "We can welcome the return of sail propulsion, the return to the roots of our industry with the use of kites, foils, hydrogen and hybrid engines. This is a very important area for the FIN, which does not imagine how to provide innovative responses and relies on the automotive industry, which has "the major responsibility to be at the forefront". It is in this sense that the Federation of Nautical Industries has developed collaborations with the automotive industry for energy storage and management.

Respect for the natural environment in which boating is practiced . We are talking here about the "the challenge of addressing the issue of anchorages and meeting the requirement of no discharge (wastewater, waste...)". To this end, FIN wishes to develop a circular economy in collaboration with marinas.

2 - Winning new customers

"We must win back and conquer these new generations through the economy of sharing, service and digital offer in all its forms and with the ambition that our products evolve."

The issue of the renewal of the recreational boater population is still at the heart of FIN's missions. Today, the practice is evolving and new ways of "consuming" water sports are emerging to seduce "a new young, festive and versatile target that represents the new customers of tomorrow."

"The forms of reception are diversifying ", through daily rentals or Boat Club systems. "In the latter, there is usually a welcoming, initiation or learning phase for the uninitiated." Through the classic rental offers, it is also possible to hire the services of a skipper or to train via an instructor. In 2019, rental grew by 10%, which clearly shows that "the consumption of boating is no longer the same."

"There is a more festive dimension to boating than we have ever known. The boat is an escape platform for young people. While some have a sailing experience, others come to participate in a festive escape. It is also developing in the sharing economy, with the possibility of calling upon a skipper or an accompanying person for a joint crossing and this lack of experience does not therefore present any additional safety risk."

Nevertheless, Yves Lyon-Caen is not worried about the evolution of yachting and its practices. "There are fewer regular boat owners, but that doesn't mean that boating practice doesn't continue to develop, but differently (rental, boat club). Those who go boating from time to time will one day be regular boaters if they have the time and money to practice régulièrement?? It's all about the availability of time, money, culture and behaviour."

From beach to sailing

For the Federation of Nautical Industries, everything happens on the beach. It is by frequenting the beaches that future boaters will be born. "For many young people, boating is about the beach. While practicing water activities, such as paddle or kite... they then turn to a recreational practice."

However, this statement would need to be supported by figures. "We don't have a conversion rate for nautical initiation practice from beach activities, but it would be interesting to work with organizations like the Glénans or the UCPA to get some."

3 - Employment: winning the battle for attractiveness and new qualifications

Manual trades attract fewer and fewer young people and nearly forty sites and companies have difficulty recruiting, both traditional trades - electrician, mechanic... - and more specific trades - laminator...

"We must ensure the generational succession that affects all industries and the retirement of all those who entered our industries in the 70s and 80s."

More articles on channels: