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 slowing nautical industry

At the end of 2019, the nautical subsidiary will represent 5.3 billion in turnover (services, super yachts, rentals, 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 are strong job creators.

Exports account for 76.8% of French production, a figure that is increasing year on year. In fact, 9 out of 10 boats are destined for international markets "This figure is explained by the quality of the products, but also by the fact that the French market is not very buoyant compared to the international market", explains the President of FIN.

Yves Lyon-Caen added that "The industry is living in step with these shows and there are fairly strong continuities from previous trends. Continental Europe is doing well, the British trend is suffering from the stress of Brexit and the North American continent is slowing down. The landscape is tending towards a certain slowdown with some market segments that may be more impacted than others (sailing, motor, monohull, multihull...)"

The 3 main challenges of the nautical industry

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

1 - Leading the ecological transition while remaining competitive through innovation

The idea is to create eco-organizations and to 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 the plastics and chemical industries . "What materials will we implement in 5 or 10 for the economy circulaire?? Nobody knows".

Propulsion : "We can welcome the return of velic propulsion, the return to the roots of our industry with the use of kite, foil, hydrogen and hybrid engines". This is a very important area for the FIN, which cannot imagine how to provide innovative responses and is counting on the automotive industry, which has "the major responsibility of being at the head of the line". It is in this sense that the French Nautical Industries Federation has developed collaborations with the automotive industry for energy storage and management.

Respect for the natural environment in which yachting is practised . We're talking about the "challenge of dealing with the issue of moorings and meeting the requirement of non-rejection (wastewater, waste...)". To achieve this, the FIN wishes to develop a circular economy in cooperation with the marinas.

2 - Conquering new customers

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

The issue of the renewal of the boating population is always at the heart of the NIF's missions. Today, the practice is evolving and new ways of "consuming" boating are emerging to seduce "a young, festive and versatile new 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 phase of welcome, initiation or learning for the uninitiated." Through the classic charter offers, it is also possible to hire the services of a skipper or to train with an instructor. In 2019, chartering grew by 10%, which clearly shows that "the consumption of water sports is no longer the same."

"There's a more festive dimension to boating than we've ever known. The boat being an escape platform for young people. If some have sailing experience, others come to take part in a festive escape. It's also developing in the sharing economy, with the possibility of calling on a skipper or a companion for a joint crossing and this lack of experience does not 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 is not continuing to develop, but in a different way (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 behavior."

From the beach to the sail

For the Nautical Industries Federation, everything happens on the beach. It is by frequenting the beaches that future boaters will be born. "For a lot of young people, boating is done on the beach. By engaging in water activities such as paddling or kite surfing... they then turn to boating."

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

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

The manual trades are attracting fewer and fewer young people and nearly forty building sites and companies are having difficulty recruiting, both for traditional trades - electrician, mechanic... - and more specific trades - laminator...

"We need to ensure the generational succession that's affecting all industries and the retirement of all those who came into our industries in the '70s and '80s."

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