Top 11 Events for Startups in Leisure Marine

These are the top 11 global events that should be on your radar if you’re launching or scaling a new startup in leisure marine.

We know how hard it is for a startup to decide which events to attend in order to maximise your return on investment, so we’ve listed the top global events that should be on your radar if you’re launching or scaling a new startup in leisure marine.

1. boot Düsseldorf

The world’s largest yacht and water-sports show, boot Düsseldorf, brings together over 1,500 exhibitors across 16 exhibition halls, and is visited by an estimated 237,000 attendees. Held in January each year, this 10-day event gives marine companies the opportunity to display their products and network with potential customers and other industry professionals.

Yachting Ventures co-hosts a pitch competition each year with European Boating Industry (EBI), for 5-6 leisure marine startups focused on sustainable innovations. The startups, chosen by Yachting Ventures, present their products to a panel of industry experts and judges looking to invest in new technologies and solutions. The pitch competition is held as part of the Blue Innovation Dock, and offers the winning startup a free stand at boot Düsseldorf the following year, media exposure and potential investment.

2. Miami International Boat Show 

The Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show is a well-recognised industry event, attracting +100,000 visitors each year. Miami is also the only city in the world with both a vibrant startup scene and a world-renowned marine hub, placing the city at the forefront of leisure marine and blue economy innovation. 

Yachting Ventures and Seaworthy Collective host a Blue Startup Pitch Event as part of the Miami show, featuring an investor-led panel discussion and a startup pitch competition, evaluated by a panel of Miami-based angel and VC investors. Limited to just 100 exclusive guests, including industry leaders, investors, and media, the event offers a unique opportunity for startups to connect with potential investors and gain significant media exposure across multiple channels.

3. GCC Smart Yachting Days

Taking place during the Dubai International Boat Show, the GCC Smart Yachting Days is organised by Monaco Marina Management (M3) and draws industry experts from across the GCC countries; including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. During the two-day gathering, industry professionals engage in important discussions about the future of sustainable development and innovation within the yachting and marina infrastructure in the Middle East.

As part of the GCC Smart Yachting Days, 10 startups participate and pitch in an Innovation Competition, which is organised by Yachting Ventures and designed to acknowledge and reward those presenting the most groundbreaking solutions.

4. Monaco Smart Yacht Rendezvous

Held at the prestigious Yacht Club de Monaco in March, the Monaco Smart Yacht Rendezvous brings together key stakeholders for 2-days of networking, roundtables and workshops. This annual gathering, during Monaco Ocean Week, aims to spotlight innovative solutions in the +24m category, and foster sustainable collaborations with a positive impact on the yachting industry. It is attended by those genuinely interested in new technologies, including technical directors and innovation officers, and receives sponsorship from major yacht builders and shipyards.

Yachting Ventures works closely with M3 to scout for startups and scaleups with sustainable technologies, and ensures that the quality of innovations is strong with an international focus. The four categories for innovations are R&D and engineering, retrofit and disassembly, construction and use. 

5. Palma International Boat Show (PIBS)

Taking place on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, PIBS is the inaugural event of the Mediterranean yachting season. The event attracts more and more visitors each year, with an exciting array of vessels on display and many of the industry’s most prominent companies exhibiting with stands.

Yachting Ventures organises an Innovation Corner at the Palma Superyacht Village each year, creating a dynamic space for 10 startups to exhibit and gain exposure. With a focus on experience, and equipped with an expansive terrace, daily speciality coffee mornings, networking drinks, and panel discussions, the Innovation Corner is a must-visit for the attendees of PIBS.

6. Cannes Yachting Festival

Spread over two marinas, the Cannes Yachting Festival is Europe’s largest in-water boat show. The event welcomes 55,000 visitors, 650 exhibitors, 700 boats and 592 journalists each year. Cannes also hosts a Start-up Village in partnership with local angel investor network, Mer Angels, and BNP Paribas, a private French bank., The Start-Up Village is a designated space tailored for pioneering startups in the nautical sector and is a great opportunity for any founders looking to have a stand at the show.

Due to its glamorous location and the presence of many of the industry’s top players, the Cannes Yachting Festival is also an ideal place for a private press or investor event. In 2023, Yachting Ventures planned and hosted a successful launch event for Ripple Boats inside of the show, inviting key media, potential clients and investors along to celebrate the occasion. Click here to see some highlights from the Ripple Boats launch event.

7. Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous

The Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous takes place each September, right before the prestigious Monaco Yacht Show. Held at the Yacht Club de Monaco, it is a 2-day networking event attended by +250 key players in the industry. The event highlights startups and scaleups developing solutions to preserve oceans and biodiversity in the marina ecosystem, and the winner receives an Innovation Award on the final day of the show.

Yachting Ventures is responsible for scouting the innovations that take part, and the goal is to showcase marina innovations in six main categories; biodiversity, regeneration, energy optimisation, energy production, marina management, waste management and water management. Each of the six categories are crucial for sustainable marinas and to support infrastructure developments that will restore, regenerate and preserve our ocean, allowing the ecosystems to thrive well into the future. 


​​IBEX, North America’s largest technical marine event, is a hub for buyers and professionals seeking the latest technology and products. If you build, design, service, or sell boats or marine products, IBEX is a must-attend event. Held in Tampa, Florida, it provides a unique platform for the marine industry to do business, exchange ideas, and drive new product development.

Yachting Ventures has a partnership with IBEX to host a Start-Up Pavilion for 12 startups to showcase new products for the duration of the 3-day event and present their products to the US market. Thos participating in the Start-Up Pavilion are also eligible to take part in a live Pitch Competition judged by investors on IBEX’s Main Stage.

9. Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS)

Widely regarded as one of the must-attend industry events of the year, this five-day show in Florida attracts over 100,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors representing 52 countries with more than 1,300 boats on display.

The Marine Research Hub, in partnership with FLIBS, has introduced the MRH Innovation & Sustainability award to honour startups and new businesses building innovative solutions and promoting sustainability to address marine ecosystem challenges. Additionally, each year in October (right before FLIBS), Ocean Exchange hosts a pitch event for Blue Economy startups to be in with the chance of winning US $100,000. Ocean Exchange have now awarded over $2 million in non-dilutive grants to startups as seed funding, typically at the pre-revenue stage.


Held at the RAI in Amsterdam each year, METSTRADE is the main global trade exhibition for the B2B leisure marine industry. It offers a comprehensive platform for professionals to explore the latest innovations, trends, and solutions in marine equipment, materials, and systems. 

Yachting Ventures collaborates with METSTRADE to host a Start-Up Pavilion for 15 startups to exhibit as part of the show. The expansive space in Hall 7 includes two terraces for meetings, networking, and co-working, and sits alongside the recently launched Foiling Pavilion. Yachting Ventures also hosts two panel discussions in the METSTRADE Theatre and a Pitch Competition, providing a stage for 4-5 startups to pitch their products to a panel of national and international investors. In 2023, one of the startups that pitched secured €150,000 from an investor so there is real value to be had in participating in this event.

11. Abu Dhabi International Boat Show (ADIBS)

Taking place in November each year, ADIBS has established itself as one of the key platforms for the marine industry in the Middle East. The show received over 34,000 visitors in 2023, attracting top-tier exhibitors, industry professionals, and global marine enthusiasts.

ADIBS runs an Innovation Zone in partnership with Yachting Ventures, which is dedicated to supporting startups within the leisure marine and yachting industries. The Innovation Zone is a dynamic centre for collaboration, education, and networking, uniting investors, industry experts, and innovators dedicated to shaping a sustainable maritime sector.

As part of ADIBS, Yachting Ventures also organises immersive trips to local tech hubs and cultural excursions to support the startups in better understanding the country and nuances of the market. Click here to see some highlights from the Innovation Zone in 2023.

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