First it was a pub with no beer, now it’s the Port with no boats

Whoops, someone forgot to tell these happy boaties Freo doesn’t do Australia Day on January 26 any more, with Rocky Bay packed to the gunwales on Tuesday and the national flag on prominent display.

Numbers were probably on par with those who turned out to the council’s alternative One Day in Fremantle event on Sunday. 

Despite some “ramping” of boats together, the Department of Transport said most did the right thing and there were only a handful on infringements and cautions. DoT safety director Chris Mather said a couple of skippers and swimmers were ordered out of the channel, but mostly everyone was well behaved.

THE Fremantle Boat Show has being postponed for 2021 after Covid-driven sales stripped local showroom floors of sufficient stock. 

Although the cancellation was flagged at Fremantle council’s finance and policy committee on January 20, event organiser Peter Woods of Premiere Events made the official announcement on Wednesday, saying a nationwide shortage of recreational vessels had forced the postponement until further notice.

One of WA’s leading event and marking companies, Premiere Events ran the Freo THE Fremantle Boat Show has being postponed for 2021 after Covid-driven sales stripped local showroom floors of sufficient stock. 

Although the cancellation was flagged at Fremantle council’s finance and policy committee on January 20, event organiser Peter Woods of Premiere Events made the official announcement on Wednesday, saying a nationwide shortage of recreational vessels had forced the postponement until further notice.

One of WA’s leading event and marking companies, Premiere Events ran the Freo Boat Show in 2016 and is responsible for introducing its Seafood Festival component.

Originally planned for March 17-19, the show would have taken place at Fishing Boat Harbour and Esplanade Reserve.

“If we ran the show in March there would be a three to six month wait on stock,” Mr Woods told the Herald.

“During the summer period of 2020, major boat dealers in Fremantle sold out of stock due to the increase of people buying boats because of Covid.

“There was no point in having the event if there were no boats available. We always want to guarantee immediate delivery to our customers.” 

Some local boat businesses weren’t aware of the postponement, with the Herald dropping the news on Mia Marine owner Bob Lushey, who says business has never been busier.

“Covid has led to a massive increase of sales. People can’t travel, so they’re waking up to how good boating is.” 

Mr Lushey said Mia Marine sells a dozen boats a year, ranging from 20 to 60-foot power boats and yachts. 

He had planned to sell six at the March show and is now concerned about the impact of losing the sales.

Premiere Events still plan to run the International Boat Show at the Perth Convention Centre in September, but Mr Lushey told the Herald the Freo gig worked better for dealers due to its location and community atmosphere. Dealers can also get something a bit bigger than a dinghy onto the Esplanade.

Mr Woods hopes to have the show rescheduled to Autumn or Spring, and is hoping to get a three-year sponsorship with the council starting from 2022.

“The Freo Boat Show is not cancelled, just postponed. This is a temporary setback which will result in a better show.” Mr Woods said.

Premiere Events plans to run the seafood festival in the coming months, focusing on promoting WA’s organic produce and fresh, local seafood. 

by PIP WALLER

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