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Dead in the water?

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Plagued with COVID-19 restrictions, offshore racing in Italy faces another difficult year.

Red Zones, travel restrictions and border closures have dry docked Italy’s powerboats, confined its motonautical enthusiast into lockdown zones and silenced their engines.

Will Italy’s 2021 UIM/FIM season be dead in the water?

Changes and chaos challenge the directors of the Federazione Italiana Motonautica (FIM) and the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) with foreboding cancellations of a 2021 calendar.

Lapsed in the COVID-19 inertia, the abyss of the unknown and unforeseeable has idled all future planning and sudden closures and openings have created unstable grounds for promotion.

FIM’s last action was in mid-December, 2020, when they voiced their position together with other sporting federations showing their descent for the rules outlined for public sporting events as stated in the Italian Government’s decree for the COVID-19 Virus, however, previous to their collective action, FIM had appealed privately to the Italian Government no less than three times.

Racing on Como last October
Photo: Massimo Ciuchi

The Italian Government’s reply was as silent as Italy’s powerboat engines.

Fear that any public demonstration would result in fines and the confiscation of boats, and initiated in Lake Como, a recent ‘Free Italy’s Waters’, protest was tabled -#H20ItalyFreedom

How wonderful it would have been to see an organized flotilla, a thousand or more boats protesting on the navigable waters of Italy!

Having recently lost two powerful pillars of the Italian motorboating and racing industry, Fabio Buzzi and Tuillo Abbate, the question remains, who will man the helm and fight to keep the spirit of Italian Powerboating alive?

  • Italy has an estimated mass population of 60 million people in a total area of 116,350 sq. miles of which 113,570 sq. miles is land mass and 2,780 sq. miles is water mass.
  • Italy’s coastlines border the country with 4,600 miles of coastal extensions – These coastal extensions account for 23% of the total coastal borders of Europe.
  • In the Northern part of Italy, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Pavia, Fruli-Venezia, Liguria and Veneto are key provinces that host Italy’s elite Motonautica Sports.
  • The key Italian provinces for elite Motonautica Sports have 700 miles of navigable nautical surfaces.
  • Provinces as Liguria and Veneto have an estimate 360 miles of navigable nautical surfaces while Lombardy with Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, Lake Garda and the River Po in Pavia has an estimate of 340 miles of navigable nautical surfaces.

In the economic sector of Nautical Marketing, Italian shipyards are worldwide market leaders:

  • Italy is responsible for 45.7% of global boat building.
  • Market growth in Italy’s global boat building have experienced a steady annual increase of 10%, surpassing Italian Design and Furniture, Beauty, Wines, Food and Apparel.
  • Nautical tourism and the recreational boating industry are on the rise too in the worldwide European market, boasting 36 million people who practice boating regularly owning an estimated 6 million boats. This segment represents 33% of European tourism.

With Italy’s great relevance to nautical tourism and the positive ratio of population and land mass vs water mass, why does Italy’s Government sink such a profitable ship that moves the Italian economy?

Official powerboat racing calendars in the USA and UK surge ahead with the most prolific and high-profile season for 2021 while Italy’s engines are bogged down in the debris of COVID-19 decrees.

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