From dhow to superyachts: how the boat business has changed in Dubai

From dhow to superyachts: how the boat business has changed in Dubai

Dubai: With the world readjusting to a post-Covid reality, the global yacht and boat industry thrives, experiencing a significant expansion of the water sports tourism and rising attraction of the millennials towards outdoor recreational activities.

Recent studies show that the recreational boating market reached a value of $21.3 Billion in 2021 and is expected to achieve the level of  28.8 Billion by 2027.

Being the third-biggest ownership of the largest yachts in the world, the UAE has largely contributed to the industry’s boom. The UAE has a fast-growing superyacht fleet with a total of 117 yachts being built in the region. The boating industry has been fundamental to the economy of the Emirates for many years and still continues to play a significant part in its development. The UAE has an internationally recognised reputation as a logistics and maritime hub.

The rapid growth of Dubai’s maritime tourism sector has contributed significantly to reinforcing the emirate’s status as one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations. Dubai shows promise to become a global capital for luxury yacht tourism as it continues to attract international companies to invest in the vital sector. The emirate is home to 15 marinas with more than three thousand berths, having the capacity to accommodate a myriad of luxury yachts and super yachts.

Dubai’s economy was integrally linked with the sea even before the oil discovery in the Gulf. Its rich maritime history dates back about 7,000 years. During this period, the emirate’s fishing, pearl diving, and dhow (traditional sailing vessel) construction industries were major revenue generators. This history is regularly referenced as an important precedent for the UAE’s rapidly expanding contemporary maritime sector.

Traditional sambuk wooden boats were used for centuries to bring back fresh fish to feed the local tribes that settled along the coast. These early settlements of Dubai and Abu Dhabi became thriving ports and dhows were used to carry a variety of local wares across oceans to India, China, and East Africa.

In the 1960s, people in Dubai used Rowing Abras. These were small wooden boats with rowing oars made using traditional building methods. These boats were capable of carrying around six passengers and the Boatman. By the 1970s, the Dubai fleet has been upgraded with the Motor Yacht Dubai Shadow. It was made as a fishing boat by the Japanese industry and owned by Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Related Article: Take a look at the world’s biggest superyachts

Decades later, with the emergence of new technologies in boat construction, the emirate has become the leading maritime center in the Middle East, India, and Africa. Its rapid rise from a quiet fishing port in the 1970s to a regional and global shipping center handling $354bn in non-oil trade is something to be admired.

As a fast-growing yacht renting marketplace, GetBoat has been a part of Dubai’s prosperous boating business for a year now, offering a wide range of boats and yachts for any purpose and taste at the best prices on the market. We are embracing new opportunities the Dubai boat industry is creating now by establishing the best platform where yacht owners meet their customers.

  • This article is contributed by Evgeniy Kochetkov, Co-founder of

About A tender-based marketplace for boat charter and sales at the best prices. Working all over the globe, the platform lets people get the best prices at any destination. Today, the service offers 15.000 boats and yachts worldwide including the most important tourist destinations such as the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Italy, Croatia, and Greece. Different sizes, types, styles, and categories are available for booking; everyone will find the best option.

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in The Brew Opinion – our opinion section – are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of, the company, or any of its members.

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