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From alternative fuel to boating apps, we break down trends on the horizon

With so much open water in and around Australia, and snorkelling, fishing, diving, and swimming remaining amongst the country’s favourite pastimes, Aussies are by nature a nation of boaters, with one in 10 Australians holding a boat licence.

But the past few years have seen a boom in boating with record numbers of recreational vessel sales with boat registrations growing by 18,500 over the past 12 months. Some of the credit for this can be placed on the two years of pandemic-paralysed international and interstate travel. This has seen more people in the market for recreational vehicles to explore locally, and the boating business has been abuzz.

However, as restrictions ease, the trend has continued with the 53rd annual Sydney International Boat Show attracting more than 45,000 visitors in late August after a two-year hiatus. Here we look at this and other Australian boat industry trends for 2023 -

Fuel prices

The increasing price of fuel isn’t only impacting road vehicles. It will be a primary concern in the boating industry throughout 2023 and beyond, with fuel consumption becoming one of the main considerations when purchasing a boat.

Alternative fuel

While 100-percent renewable diesel fuel will dominate the marine-fuel market, hybrid propulsion systems and electric boats are slowly gaining in popularity, and we can expect to see the alternative-fuelled boating industry grow as more key players make moves into this emerging market.

Yachting innovations

Innovative technology such as carbon fibre and composite construction will help decrease boat weights and make boats more fuel efficient, and an increased usage of solar panels will also decrease the need for fuel.

Multi-tasking cruisers

Smaller cabin cruisers are packing in more features as they are asked to perform multiple duties. These crossover-style vessels provide a fishing pontoon, tow skiers, provide a useful entertainment space with onboard grills and galleys, as well as providing overnight accommodation in cabins with full heads and showers.

Pontoon boats

Pontoon boats are growing in popularity because of their versatility. Not only do they boast excellent people-carrying capacity for social boaters, but they’re generally powered by mid-to-high range outboards, making them a great option for water skiing and tow toys.

Supersized yachts

Those multi-million-dollar superyachts seem to be getting even more buxom by the day with anything under 100 feet appearing almost to token. Not only are these ultra-luxe vessels increasing in size, but they’re also offering more versatile interior spaces. Some supersized superyachts are even sporting supersized support vessels for crew, provisions, personal watercraft and even the occasional helicopter.

Power and sail catamarans

This market sector is proving increasingly popular and for good reason. Multihulls are not only comfortable and easy to handle, but they also offer the advantage of more exterior and interior space, better accommodations, better fuel efficiency and more stability, and make a great choice for coastal or distance cruising. Matt Hayes, CEO of Performance Cruising Yachts said, “The demand for catamarans has absolutely boomed in the past few years as they are the perfect boat for entertaining. They're a lot more stable, and have plenty of space and head room, and to people who are newer to sailing, catamarans feel more roomy and secure than a monohull.”

Small boats

It’s not all go big or go home, as smaller vessels are gaining in popularity due to their accessibility and ease of storage. Modern inflatables are proving particularly popular while paddle- and pedal-powered boats are being adapted for activities like fishing, cruising and even sailing.


Speaking of storage, with wild weather affecting the east coast of Australia over the past 12 months and causing damage to vessels due to high seas and winds, storage and maintenance issues will remain a hot topic. The lack of available berths, moorings or hardstand storage, is causing problems for boat owners. Not to mention the cost of berthing should you manage to score one.


Tech is revolutionising the boating industry and will remain a significant topic for 2022 and beyond. Advances in navigation, logistics and satellite and wireless technologies, as well as emissions, tech and fleet safety management systems are currently creating the biggest buzz.

A sea of apps

There are more and more apps appearing on the market in 2022 to make your boating experience better. Beyond checking on weather, fishing, and safety there are apps that allow you to monitor your boat remotely, manage onboard systems from lights to AC before you even step aboard and there’s a growing trend of product apps being developed by manufacturers and builders to teach you how to maintain and sail your boat.

Used boats

While there’s incredible demand for new boats, there’s also a supply shortage currently impacting the boating industry, and with it, long wait lists. Pickles fortnightly boat auctions is where you’ll find a range of quality used boats available so you can dive into boating straight away.

Got your eye on the open sea? Check out all of the boats available at our Fortnightly Recreational Auctions.

21 Mar