Sydney International Boat Show – All you need to know

Sydney International Boat Show – All you need to know

The Sydney International Boat Show returns to the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney and Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour next week from 01 to 05 of August. We here at Shipmate are proud to be Promotional Partners of the Sydney International Boat show Show and we have a small number of, free, double passes to give away.

For your chance to receive one of these free double passes, please see details at the bottom of this article.

The show, organised by the Boating Industry Association (BIA) Ltd, is the largest recreational boat show in the southern hemisphere, filling the entire exhibition space at the ICC, as well as the show’s purpose-built marina on Cockle Bay.

Each year, more than 60,000 people visit the show, which is renowned for also being the largest public exhibition hosted at ICC Sydney, with more than 800 watercraft housed within the exhibition space, and a further 200+ on-water vessels berthed on the Marina adjacent to the halls.

A complete showcase of the recreational boating lifestyle, including all the gear you need for a great experience on the water, this show is again expecting thousands to visit for their annual pilgrimage

What’s on

Beyond the absolute choice of boats, accessories and fishing gear, there’s plenty of educational and entertaining activities as well, as the BIA’s charter includes education, with water safety being a significant feature. Fishing masterclasses, the maritime museum’s historic boats, the Australia International Dive Expo, are just a few of the many attractions at the show.

Although the show covers the broad range of boating as a lifestyle, a massive 60% of visitors to the show express an interest in fishing. And the fishing clinics particularly reflect that interest, with presentations ranging from inland waterway fishing to the more adventurous offshore competitions, presenting videos, photos, tips and stories to match.

The show also welcomes back Transport for NSW as the show’s Partner in Safety, hosting the Boating Safety Zone where government regulators and other associations are keen to discuss how they keep our waterways safe, and protect the ecological sustainability of the marine environment.

First Aussie woman to row solo across the Atlantic – Michelle Lee

Michelle Lee is the only Australian woman to row solo non-stop across any ocean, successfully crossing the Atlantic earlier this year, a distance of 5,000 kilometres. Her story of tenacity, strength, survival and sheer determination is inspiring, along with the design and cost challenges of developing her own boat, and the will power required to make it to the start, let alone the finish line. Michelle will be at the show, along with her boat ‘Australian Maid’, sharing her many stories of life solo at sea.

Marine Explorer – Dean Cropp

Marine explorer and cinematographer Dean Cropp recounts his many adventures travelling with his father, documentary producer Ben Cropp. Presenting “The Sharks were BIGGER in my day” Dean talks about growing-up on the road with his Dad, and learning to walk whilst living an unconventional boating life. Dean will also talk about “The little-known wonders of Sydney Harbour”, and his time sailing Australia’s most remote Coral Sea reefs and beyond. Treasure hunting and extraordinary wildlife are all part of Dean’s life, including encounters with whales, manta rays, sharks, and trying to locate the shipwrecks his father failed to uncover.

Water Speed Record – Spirit of Australia II

Popular last year, the Spirit of Australia II returns as a major feature of the show, with Ken Warby’s son David challenging for the Outright Unlimited World Water Speed Record. Ken himself recorded two world records with the original Spirit of Australia, and has now made small improvements in the hull design to ensure the new Spirit of Australia II will be a record breaker.

The vessel has close to 50% more power than the original boat, powered by a Rolls Royce Orpheus 803 ex-Italian Air Force jet engine, removed from a Fiat Gina G-91 jet fighter. It’s as much a rocket as it is a boat. See it at the show and have a chat to Dave about his ongoing record-breaking plans.

Australian Circumnavigator – Lisa Blair

Within a month of completing and surviving her solo Antarctica voyage, Lisa Blair was already preparing her next adventure, to become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia. Hear Lisa present her positive, empowering story at the Sydney International Boat Show, telling of the highs and lows of sailing solo around Australia in 58 Days, including her almost sinking on the final run to the finish line. Lisa navigated around reefs, islands and shipping traffic, and could only take 20 minute naps throughout the circumnavigation, making this journey more challenging than the wide open space of the Southern Ocean.

Dive Expo

Joining the Sydney International Boat Show for another year is the Australia International Dive Expo. Here you’ll find exhibitors with all the gear and information needed to enjoy diving as a sport, for business, research, conservation or recreation. The on-site trial pool presents the opportunity to experience scuba diving under the guidance of professional instructors, while the dive gear workshops are a great place for novices to learn about the equipment needed to start diving, or for experienced divers wanting to learn how to keep their gear well maintained.

Maritime Museum

Australia enjoys a rich history centred around boating and travelling vast distances across the seas. The Australian National Maritime Museum presents treasures and artefacts at the show, sourced from their collection at the museum also located close by at Darling Harbour. Visit the display to see and hear how the museum is protecting relics from our early history, and some of the preservation activities taking place right now across their impressive collection, and how you can get involved.

International Exhibitors

From the USA, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) will present a number of their members at a special USA Pavilion at the Sydney International Boat Show. The NMMA is the leading trade association in the US representing boat, marine engine and accessory manufacturers. Collectively, NMMA members manufacture an estimated 80 percent of marine products used in North America, and hope to be able to secure a larger presence and visibility in Australia by participating at the show.

“Since Australia remains one of the top export markets for US manufactured products and boats, the NMMA has selected the Sydney International Boat Show as our chosen platform for showcasing some of the best that our US industry has to offer to the Australian market,” said Julie Balzano with the NMMA. “The USA Pavilion, located on level 4, will highlight manufacturers and boat builders looking for new customers and B2B partners in Australia.”

From Central Europe, the Polish Investment and Trade Agency will promote the Polish yacht and boat sector among Australians at the show. Visitors to the show can learn more about the Polish yachting industry and obtain information about Polish manufacturers, parts, equipment and related services.

“More than 95% of maritime production in Poland is intended for export,” Magdalena Kaszewska-Suchocka with the Polish Investment and Trade Agency said.  “Our yachts and boats are associated with an exceptional reputation for reliability.  This is our second year exhibiting at the Sydney International Boat Show, and buyers of luxury goods, not just from Europe but also from all around the world, appreciate our Polish standards and dedication to quality.”


The Sydney International Boat Show was first launched as a standalone event in 1968. Prior to this it was common for boats to be displayed as part of a motor show or at the Royal Easter Show.

The show was held at the Hordern Pavilion at Moore Park, where it remained until 1985. It then moved to Pyrmont from 1986 to 1988, where finally an on-water component was introduced. 1989 marked a milestone year with the opening of the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour, which had the added benefit of Cockle Bay being located adjacent.

Having the undercover facility and on-water displays working in tandem, the show grew tremendously at Darling Harbour for 25 years until 2013.

The major upgrade to Darling Harbour’s exhibition facilities started soon after the 2013 show and for the next three years, (2014 to 2016), the show moved to a temporary facility at Glebe Island. This required the show to be split for the first time, between Glebe Island and the, now very large and popular, marina component in Cockle Bay.

For the 50th Sydney International Boat Show in 2017, the event returned to the then, newly completed and vast, International Convention Centre – Sydney, located at Darling Harbour, with the spectacular marina displays just minutes away on Cockle Bay.

Getting to the Show

Located in the heart of Darling Harbour, International Convention Centre Sydney and Cockle Bay Marina is easily accessible by public transport, including light rail, ferry and train and is an easy walk from either Central or Town Hall train stations. Secure car parking is available and conveniently located within the Darling Harbour precinct.


Cruise into Darling Harbour on a ferry with direct services from Circular Quay and Pyrmont Bay Wharf.


Darling Harbour is only 8km from Sydney Airport.

Sydney Light Rail

The Light Rail travels right through Darling Harbour stations including ICC Sydney’s Convention and Exhibition stops. The Light Rail connects with Central Station in the CBD and travels to Dulwich Hill in the inner west.

Water Taxi

A Water Taxi is a great option for getting to and from Darling Harbour. Water Taxi’s depart from The Rocks, Circular Quay, The Opera House and Luna Park.


A short walk from Central or Town Hall will take you directly to Darling Quarter, Tumbalong Park and the Sydney Visitor Centre. Walking from Town Hall takes 10 minutes, and 15 minutes from Central Station.


ICC Sydney has two car parking facilities located within the Exhibition Centre and International Convention Centre’s Sydney Theatre, comprising a total of 826 car spaces.

Parking Rates

0-1 hour $18.00
1-2 hours $30.00
2-3 hours $38.00
3-4 hours $44.00
4+ hours $49.00
Lost ticket $49.00

Additionally, there are several other car parks located in and around Darling Harbour, the closest located at Harbourside Car Park, 100 Murray Street, Pyrmont.


ICC Sydney has its own bus stop. Bus routes 389 and 501 stop at Harris Street near Allen Street – a 10-minute walk to ICC Sydney.


The best taxi drop off and pick up locations include the new Iron Wharf Place next to Harbourside Shopping Centre and Zollner Circuit on the Southern end of ICC Sydney Theatre, both accessed via Darling Drive.

Entry Prices (remain the same as last year)

Adult entry: $22
Children (6-17 year old): $13.
Kids aged five and under admitted free.
Family tickets: (2 adults + 3 kids) are $49,
Seniors: $20
Pensioners: $16.
2 Day pass: $30
3 Day pass: $40

A great initiative for those wanting to head to the show after work, if you arrive after 5pm all tickets are just $5 when purchased from any of the ticket booths at the show. All other tickets can be purchased online, which is a good way to avoid queues on popular days. Visit to purchase.

Show Times

10am to 7pm

FREE TICKETS to the Sydney International Boat Show

Shipmate has a small number of free, double passes to the Sydney International Boat Show to give away on a first-come, first-served basis. Simply send us an email to: with Free Tickets’ in the subject line and details of your Name and your State. We’ll email a double pass to each of the first three responses we receive.