Story and select photos by DinaRella / Additional photos courtesy of Kris De Ramos, Mercury Marine Middle East & Dubai Boat Show

Based on its persistence, perseverance, and perpetual prediction of future trends and technological advancements; Mercury Marine’s commitment to reshaping the landscape of pleasure and professional powerboating puts the industry leader in a league of its own.
And not just around the nation, but rather the globe!

For this reason, bound to cover just a little more ground may be a line from the Grateful Dead track “The Wheel,” but given the powerhouse engine platform’s “wheels (or props) are always turning and can’t slow downMercury might consider adding it to the Racing series newly trademarked Next Never Rests motto.

Case in point: Just 10 days after ringing in Mercury Racing’s 50-year anniversary with its massive V10 400R outboard debut and in-water demo at the Miami Boat Show – 10,000 miles away the Middle East division was all systems go in the Gulf with another mammoth undraping at the 2023 Dubai International Boat Show. Of course, the American leadership crew was in attendance and available all week long; Mercury Racing general manager Stuart Halley and Mercury Racing director of customer experience Steve Miller even each took a hand in slicing the WIDE OPEN cake at the Saturday evening soiree.

Cake or no cake, just being so far from home and seeing Halley and Miller was a pleasure, as was personally meeting Kris De Ramos from Mercury’s commercial sales and marketing department for the Middle East and Africa. On behalf of Riverdavesplace and Luxurycenterconsoles, De Ramos (who appeared to be as busy as River Dave) deserves a big thank you for her genuine willingness and help connecting me to all the right people with the brand’s two biggest distributors Extreme Marine and Delma Marine, in addition to the local UAE boat manufacturers Al Rubban and IMG Boats. She also worked her charm getting me permission to privately board the first boat outside the United States to be rigged with quad V10 400Rs.

1 2023 Dubai Boat Show.JPG
2  Dubai BS overview.jpg
3 Dubai BS.JPG
4 Mercurys Kris De Ramos.JPG
5 Raslaan 45.jpg

Extreme Marine and Al Rubban

It was overwhelmingly clear from the bustling activity at the indoor booth, that Extreme Marine Services and Equipment was home base for the Mercury Racing camp. And as luck would have it, Hatim Awad from its sales and marketing was the first of those “right people” De Ramos presented me to. In between attending to customers, Awad provided a quick bit of background on Extreme’s operations explaining, “Established in 2003, Extreme supports multifaceted roles in the marine industry dealing with both racing and pleasure applications. We’re located in a strategic spot in the Dubai International Marine Club, but our services, products and equipment offerings reach all over the United Arab Emirates.”

The incessant flurry continued outside on the main dock where nestled in among the 100-footer-plus Majestic mega yachts, the attention-grabbing, appointment-only headliner Raslaan 45 garnered all the glory bedazzled with its freshly fitted quad V10 400Rs. The robust deep red and rust object of desire was designed by Dubai’s flagship performance boat builder Al Rubban. Standing for “The Captain” in English, the translation couldn’t be more appropriate when making a connection between the country’s rich maritime heritage and the display of craftsmanship achieved by the company’s expert engineers since opening its doors two and a half decades back. What’s more, Al Rubban is one of the first pioneers of the air ventilated stepped hull.

In speaking with company owner Saif Tayer, I was quick to discover that apart from specializing in sport fishing vessels, Al Rubban is also responsible for the fabrication of various UAE defense production vessels such as interceptor petrol boats and guard boats. Our conversation concluded on a high-performance racing note when the name Randy Scism came up; the veteran racer and owner of Marine Technology Inc. is a longtime friend from his earlier years with the Victory team.

6 Dubai BS Extreme Marine.JPG
7 Extreme Marine Hatim Awad.JPG
8 Merc table not for sale.JPG
9  Raslaan 45 helm statin view.JPG
10 Headliner CC Raslaan 45.jpg
11 Rabaan 45  gunwale padding.JPG
13 Raslaan 45 bow.JPG
12 Rabaan helm station.JPG
14 Raslaan at night.JPG

15 Kris De Ramos and Saif Tayer.JPG

16 Al Rubban.JPG
17 Al Rubban dash blue.JPG
18 Al Rubban helm.JPG
19 Al Rubban quad 400s.JPG

IMG and Delma Marine

Seeing the show goes till 9 p.m., after moving on from Al Rubban, a special spellbinding set of stars not in the Dubai sky, but glowing green under the IMG Boats 540 CC hardtop, sparked my attention. The bright idea that started in 2007 with 800 delicate fiber optic strands woven into a Rolls-Royce Phantom has since forged its way onto the center console scene.

My gazing at the starlight headliner and down at the finely manicured marine matting around the twin transom livewells, caught the eye of sales manager Paurush Farouk and probably because of my American accent, a lengthy sit-down dialogue pursued about IMG’s international expansion. “Today, people are looking for various options to get on the water, and due to the huge pricing differential our market has really taken off with a big surge of interest from America to Australia. Currently we produce 40 hulls per year, but the 70,000-square-foot factory is capable of doubling that quota. And, what's most attractive, is that here a fully loaded IMG watercraft is $1 million, whereas, the same boat in the States would cost $3.5 million,” noted Farouk. Not understanding the huge price delta, he explained it’s mostly attributable to the lower cost of labor, considering that, in terms of construction all the same high-quality products and appointments from Garmin to JL Audio are used.

And with that, my final stop was back to the large-scale Delma Marine Industrial Supplies and Marine Services stand to thank the general manager Mahmoud Swaid for the Mercury swag he’d given me earlier in the week. In business for 45 years, Delma is to Mercury Marine, what Extreme Marine is to Mercury Racing. On my second visit, COO Walid Al Naggar was also on hand, and upon hearing I would be in Abu Dhabi (less than two hours away) the following week, invited me to visit their primary facility which features a full service center and comprehensive diving and fishing store. Al Naggar who’s been with the outfit for 23 years shared, “People here love speed, but the high quantity of salt in the waters of the Persian Gulf is what makes the outboards, especially the 300s and 350s, so popular. What’s also been a big hit are the Mercury Marine 600s on the popular American classic Boston Whaler Outrage 420. (Seen here

Inquiring about fuel consumption and prices, it was Al Naggar who enlightened me to the fact… there is no 87 octane. Choices are E-Plus 91, Special 95, Super 98, plus diesel of course. And for shocker number two, well, fuel is no longer cheaper than water. Set in line with global oil price benchmarks, and nearly double the average among gulf Arab states, a gallon of Special 95 is around $3.15 (priced by their standard of measure at .85 a liter multiplied by 3.78).

Wrapping up our four-part series in recognition of Mercury Racing’s monumental, mic-drop 50th, it’s anyone’s guess how we will next be impressed. But what’s for certain moving forward, Mercury is bound to cover a lot more ground, Going Boldly each and every step of the way!

20 IMG 540 CC.JPG
21 IMG 540 CC flagship.jpg
22 IMG helm lights.JPG
23 IMG Sales manager P Farouk.JPG
25 IMG 540 CC quint mercs.JPG
24 IMG livewell matting.JPG
26 Delma at Dubai BS.JPG
27 Delma headquarters in Abu Dhabi.JPG
28 Delma Merc line-up.JPG

29 Mercury party time.jpg
30 Merc Racing sweet celebration.jpg