Venice Boat Show 2019

The first Venice Boat Show

It began in 2002 with a modest opening. Local boat clubs and local contractors joined forces to give Venice a Boat Fair just like many other coastal cities around Europe. Venice Boat Show grew and as larger companies came in, the organizers and financiers also became larger.

Venice Boat ShowThe first years it was on Tronchetto. The island to the right before you get into Venice … Where the cruise ships are now. La stazione marittima with its 150,000 m2 and almost as much water surface held large and rich exhibitions.
Around 2010, the cruise ship terminal was built, more ships came into Venice and the boat fair had to move.

The Boat Show in Mestre

In 2011 and 2012 it was held in Parco San Giuliano in Mestre with less success as a result. First of all, it was far from Venice and it had a small water surface for the boats in the water. In addition, the Park with its terrain was not suitable for heavy vehicles, heavy boats, and large crowds. It got pretty muddy after a few days.

After that, the Venice Boat Show was abandoned.

La Salone Nautica in Venice

Traditional Boat buildingUntil now: 2019 it opened again. This time in Venice, in the Arsenale, the historical shipyard. What once was one of the ground stones in the creation of the Republic of Venice and where they outpowered all other boat-building nations in terms of efficiency and production capacity.
Venice Boat Show has come home.
How is it then? Have they managed to recreate the Fair on Tronchetto? Is Venice Boat Show worth visiting?

Fastest boat on earthWell…
First of all, it is much smaller. The water surface is about 50,000 m2 and the indoor area is 6,000 m2 (?) (On Tronchetto it was 150,000 m2). This means that there are very few smaller boats, accessories, innovations and everything that is a bit outside the boats themselves; travel by boat, financing, renovating boats, caring for boats.
There is a small area to the east, under the hot sun, with smaller boats. The 6,000 m2 indoor area is enough for some gadgets, design companies, and a gondola. In addition to that, there isn’t very much.
Venice Boat ShowIn the Arsenale Basin lies the jewels in the crown. The large and luxurious yachts from all the major producers in Italy and abroad. It is unusual to have so many representatives of such large yacht companies in one place. It´s impressive.

And there are also a few examples of new trends. As the electrical- a hybrid boats. As with the cars, the electrical propulsion is hot. 

If you’re filthy rich, it’s a great possibility to see all kinds of different yachts in one place. You can go from boat to boat and compare before you sink down in a very comfortable armchair, sip your drink, decide all the extras and discuss the price tag.
If you’re not very rich, don’t bother.

Venice Boat Show

Cruise ship accident

Cruise ship accident

Today, Sunday, June the 2nd 2019 there was an accident with a cruise ship in the Giudecca canal in Venice. Around 8.30 a.m. the Opera, a 13-stories high and 275-meter long ship of MSC cruises lost control and crashed on a bank involving a passenger boat.

As seen in the video, nothing really tragical happened. The ship came into the quay with a very small angle and at that precise point, the harbor is equipped with structures that can hold big vessels. It’s in concrete with heavy steel reinforcement. And the ship landed between the quay and the passenger boat and pressed the other vessel outwards instead of downwards.

5 people were brought to the hospital, none in serious conditions.

The president of the Port Authority of the Northern Adriatic Sea Pino Musolino was urgently summoned to Rome by the Ministry of Transport, to explain how this could happen. But like so many times before and like in so many other fields, the difference between probability and actual facts is huge.

This is not supposed to be possible. The security measures are too strict. Still, this is not the first time.

In May 2018 another ship, Marella Discovery, 264 meters of length and 50 meters high, was drifting out of control for half an hour in the middle of the Giudecca-Canal. She too was dangerously close to the Zattere side before three tugs were able to pull her away. And before that, there have been other incidents.

Are we really going to trust luck to keep Venice and the tourists as well as the Venetian safe? 

Because it was pure luck that prevented a serious cruise ship accident this time too.  

cruise ship accident

The ‘MSC’ “Opera”, with 65,000 tons of tonnage, was unable to stop. She had the engine damaged, but “somehow continued pushing ahead”, an officer of one of the tugs in service, explained. She continued to accelerate, and in the end, even the hawser of the tug that held it back broke. The marine ‘skyscraper’ continued, scraping away a piece of the quay, then hit the ‘River Countess’ on the stern, a tourist riverboat, where 110 passengers were sitting calmly eating breakfast, before the scheduled trip on the river Brenta. There was plenty of time for them to see the giant coming towards them and people started screaming, running away in disorder falling, then getting up again to escape the monstrous steel mountain coming straight at them. 

So, this time it went well.

A disaster was avoided. But what if the ship had had a different angle? It could easily have cut the smaller boat in two and drown everything and everybody on it. And what if it had come against the quay a few meters earlier? At Zattere, where the foundation is the normal wood poles and marble? And if the angle was greater? It could easily have pulled down half of Venice. It could have destroyed hundreds of palaces and killed hundreds if not thousands of children, men, and women. Tourists and locals alike. 

  –  I saw the bow approaching and I thought it would reach my house”.

The words are those of a Venetian lady, living in Santa Marta, describing what she saw.

  –  I was on my terrace, on the fourth floor and I can see the Giudecca canal very well. When I saw the bow of the ship approaching towards us it seemed it was coming straight at me. There was a deafening noise, all the horns sounding. All I can say is that fortunately, it went well… This time…

Edit June 4th

A recording has emerged of the captain of a cruise ship describing an engine fault.

Speaking with the harbormaster he says the engine is locked but in thrust. He also said he had dropped two anchors but that didn’t stop the ship. The tugs tried to widen the gap between the ship and the deck but as one of the cables broke the bow tug couldn’t do anything more than just watch how the 275-meter ship hit the smaller passenger boat.

The captain sounded the horn continuously in an attempt to warn tourists on board the docked boat ahead of impact.