Riviera celebrates its largest and most comprehensive Festival of fun and learning


There’s something very special happening in the world of Riviera right now – and it’s reflected in the many reasons why a growing number of luxury motor yacht owners around the world say they’d only ever buy from Riviera’s award-winning collection.

This inspiring, vibrant and growing cachet reaches far beyond the renowned Riviera hallmarks of premium luxury, Australian practicality, quality of workmanship, easy-to-use technology, high performance and, of course, supreme seaworthiness.

It extends even further than the all-encompassing care the acclaimed luxury motor yacht builder provides its owners through empowering boating education, spectacular social events and inspiring cruising experiences.

But if there’s one constant theme in all this, it’s that Riviera owners really do feel that they are part of a very special ‘family’.

So it was with great pride the talented 480-strong team at Riviera’s world-class facility on the Gold Coast last weekend welcomed almost 1000 members of the ‘family’ from throughout and Australia and the world for the 6th annual Festival of Boating – a truly unique four days of fun and learning, inspiration and celebration.

There were indeed many reasons to celebrate, highlighted by a record number of registrations across the most comprehensive boating education program ever conducted by Riviera, and the international gathering of those who share a genuine appreciation for the Riviera luxury life afloat.

“Riviera’s Festival is about enhancing the enjoyment of our boating family members – helping them to improve their boating skills and enabling them to stretch their sea legs and experience the exhilaration of true blue-water cruising,” said Riviera chairman and owner, Rodney Longhurst.

“The Festival was created to help our Riviera family – and aspiring owners of our world-class motor yachts – to build confidence and skills so they can use their yachts to their full potential. “And it’s always great fun.”

It’s telling that Riviera’s firm focus on owner enjoyment stands above and beyond all the world-class marque’s other impressive achievements this week, which included:

  • Riviera was humbled to be awarded the Australian Marine Industry Exporter of the Year for the second consecutive year
  • The stunning on-water showcase of Riviera luxury design – the largest in Australia this year from a single manufacturer – featured the World Premiere of the 575 SUV, the  Australian Premiere of the very popular 5400 Sport Yacht, and the Queensland Premiere of the supremely seaworthy 57 Enclosed Flybridge
  • Riviera announced a stylish new addition to its Sport Yacht collection – the 4800 design that will have her World Premiere at Sydney International Boat Show in July 2016
  • It was announced that the new Riviera Sports Motor Yacht collection will feature two new models – the 68 and 72 designs. Then 68 model will have her World Premiere at the Riviera Festival in May 2017
  • The international Riviera team of dealers, sales executives and marketing professionals – spanning the globe – was humbled to also receive the 2016 national award for Best Australian Marine Industry Export Marketing Strategy


Inspiring boating confidence

The 2016 Festival featured over 110 educational workshops covering everything from an anchoring and onboard safety to systems maintenance and using the technology that makes boating with Riviera today even easier.

This year Riviera had an even greater focus on catering to the education of experienced owners, with workshop facilitators being flown in from around Australia and the world.

The most popular workshops included a presentation from Riviera owner Jason Squire, Living the Riviera Dream, which shared photos and information on his inspiring diving cruise from the Gold Coast north to remote Osprey Reef, and back to Sydney and then Adelaide.

Offshore Seamanship, Tricks of the Trade, the behind-the-scenes Riviera Express factory tour, Galley-Wise provisioning, Understanding Electronic Navigation and the Australian Waters Qualification workshops were also extremely popular.

Social events simply stunning

This year’s Festival included a Ladies Day at the Festival with an exclusive Fashion Parade & Fine Dining luncheon attended by 60 people at the iconic Marina Mirage shopping and dining precinct at Main Beach.

And then there was the Saturday night marina party and gala show and dinner, Viva Las Riviera, for which part of the Riviera factory was transformed into a spectacular Las Vegas gala ballroom.

This Saturday night gala – attended by over 550 guests – really had to be experienced to be fully appreciated, with nine separate acts including an amazing magic show, talented dancers, soloists and a brilliant band.

Comments from our Riviera family members

Stan Najar and Wendy Phillips from Sydney praised the positive, genuine Riviera culture.

“It really is authentic,” said Wendy. “You can really feel it – every single Riviera employee was positive, engaging and informative. It was like all those qualities were infused into every single person there.

“The safety workshop was amazing – I’ve never used a flare or deployed a life raft … and then being able to drive the Riviera 6000 Sport Yacht at the Ladies Skipper training was something truly amazing.”

Stan said the educational workshops and the quality of presenters were both ‘fantastic’.

“It doesn’t matter what you know about boating, there’s always some new development in areas like navigation and safety,” he said.

“It was great for Wendy, who is very hands-on on our yacht and we will be cruising with even greater confidence now.”

And Saturday night?

“It was off the hook,” said Stan. “The entertainment was first-class, as were the dancers and the vocalists.”

“It was without a doubt the best ball I have ever attended,” added Wendy.

“The entire experience – the entertainment, the coordination of the catering and the event management … the marina under lights and then the transformation of the factory into a ballroom complete with chandeliers … I was gob-smacked.”

Laurie Erhart from the Gold Coast said he really enjoyed the opportunity to drive his first pod-drive yacht and to learn more about the Glass Bridge navigation and monitoring systems and CZone digital switching systems that make boating with Riviera such a pleasure.

“It was a fantastic four days and we attended quite a few of the workshops,” he said.

“I enjoyed them all but the pod-drive experience and Safety Assist each brought a real smile to my face.”

Western Australia’s Camille Symmons – who with husband Harvey attended the Festival for the first time – enjoyed catching up with close friends from Mandurah.

“Everyone who had been before said we were in for a great time and they were certainly right,” said the experienced events manager.

“The food, the entertainment and the service was second-to-none – it was very well managed.”

Lance and Jacqueline Dummett from the Gold Coast thoroughly enjoyed their Festival experience.

“The Volvo display was a great way to see the engines and the pod-drives out of our yacht and see how they work,” he said.

“And I loved the reserved seating in the restaurant and the new 5400 Sport Yacht – I really like the design.”

Lionel Dooley and Virginia Woods from Pittwater attended their first Festival and found the experience was ‘extremely enjoyable’.

“The presentation of boats under lights at night was amazing – it was where I fell instantly in love with the boats and the brand,” said Lionel.

“The way Riviera looks after its clients really does encourage loyalty.” Port Lincoln’s Drew and Genni Sellick joined the Riviera Family when they purchased a 445 SUV two years ago.

“Now I couldn’t buy another brand of yacht,” said Drew.

“We really do feel so much a part of a very special family … and families always stick together.

“It was great to be able to speak with the suppliers like Seakeeper, Volvo and Garmin and then Saturday night … we just loved it!

“The Ferrari driving through the middle of the dance floor with its top down and the guitarist absolutely nailing it – it was a pretty special night.”

Steve Thomas from Perth agreed.

“The entire Festival really was … awesome.

“On Saturday night we sat with a group from Perth and although we were from different backgrounds, we found we had a lot in common,” he said.

“It was great to meet new friends and we are looking forward to cruising out to the islands with them.”

As for the educational events?

“I’ve been around boats since I was very young and there’s always so much more to learn,” said Steve.

“I attended a number of Festival workshops including Know Your Generator, Towing Rafting & Anchoring, Know Your Power Systems, Weather Planning and Tricks of the Trade and while they were all very different, there was something new in every one of them.”

Eleven current and new Riviera family members from across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States finalised the purchase of brand-new Riviera luxury motor yachts at the Festival in 2016.

“Here at Riviera, we strive to build the very best luxury motor yachts every day,” said Mr Longhurst.

“It really is a great pleasure and privilege to be able to help our owners to enjoy: ‘the ultimate boating experience’.”