Exhibitors optimistic at Newport boat show

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newport_0919The Newport International Boat Show in Rhode Island proved to be a strong start to the fall boat show season, aided by bright, crisp weather and a strong contingent of serious shoppers, exhibitors say.

Whether that translates to an uptick in overall sales remains to be seen, but exhibitors expressed the same cautious optimism that they did a year ago.

“It seems like people are slowly starting to use their money again,” says Thomas Sarin, managing director of Minor Offshore, a Finnish builder of all-season pilothouse boats imported to North America by Skarne Marine in Milford, Conn.

Sarin says that despite gloomy reports about the European economy, the most recent boat shows in Helsinki, Stockholm and Oslo delivered better-than-expected results for his company.

Foot traffic in Newport was steady early and throughout Friday, the first of three show days held under blue skies.

Final attendance figures for the show were not available this morning, but the docks were busy throughout the weekend and several vendors commented that those in attendance skewed toward serious buyers rather than tire kickers.

More than 650 new sailboats and powerboats were in slips and on the hard at the Newport Yachting Center, Oldport Marine, Bannister’s Wharf and Bowen’s Wharf.

On Thursday, multiple boats, gear and exhibitor displays were named the tops in their class by a panel of judges

— Rich Armstrong


2 comments on “Exhibitors optimistic at Newport boat show


    Foot traffic means little. Most are out to see how “the other half lives”. and that is what this show is aimed at. Here in Florida where the back bone of the business is the trailer sailor many marinas are fighting to keep from taking a final plunge to Davey Jone’s locker and the supply of good used boats is rapidly drying up putting a tighter noose around the neck of dealers. With a true unemployment rate exceeding 12 percent a life ring is hard to find and so are recreational dollars

  2. Tom Delotto, CMM

    The show was a great success mainly due to the great positive attitudes of the exhibitors and attendees. I spoke to over a thousand people personally during the four days and all I saw and heard were great things about hiow much fun they had this year, how our industry was responding and how many customers had moved past waiting and were buying. And not just small items. Boats and lots of gear were being sold. Granted, these are not in any way the days of the past but the world has changed and our industry is changing as well. Certainly not all doom and gloom as a lot of folks seem to think. We are simply wiser about how and when we spend money and this is translating to a more confident boater. The comment by John is right on the money – the supply of good used boats is drying up – and the reason is becasue folks are taking advantage of great deals to either get in or to get back in to boating. Not just used boats – the supply of dealer back inventory of left over model years and very clean trades are going fast. Again – people are reacting to a good deal to get involved in a healthy, family oriented activity. Dealers and manufacturers are very aware of this and are adjusting to meet the new demands and needs of our customers. Marina owners who did not leverage will be just fine. Service operations are booming as people realize they dont need to get a new boat every 2 years and can fix what they have and already feel comfortable with – both emotionally and financially.

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