California show reports boost in attendance

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The 2013 Lido Boat Show in September in Newport Beach, Calif., not only had a surge in attendance, but it also showed sustained improvement in sales and mood from the Newport Boat Show in April.

“At Newport we saw this surge, this uptick in the spring show,” show owner Duncan McIntosh told Trade Only Today. “During the show in September we saw that continue, but at even a greater rate. There was much more new product, attendance was up almost 30 percent, the mood was great … and we had this amazing weather.”

Several of the 150 new and brokerage boats displayed in the water Sept. 26-29 were sold and some exhibitors said they saw a shift back to new-boat buying.

“The talk on the dock I heard at the spring show was, ‘This almost feels like one of those shows from five or six years ago,’ ” McIntosh told Trade Only. “That was nice to hear because everyone had been so beat down for so long. And this show picked up from where that one left off and continued to improve.”

Silver Seas Yachts reported selling five brand-new boats at the show: two 35-foot Cruisers yachts, two 41-foot Cruisers yachts and one special-order 63-foot Marquis yacht. “We haven’t sold more than one new boat at a single show in a while,” Silver Seas general manager Rick Young said in a statement.

Boaters might be increasingly drawn to buying new boats simply because there aren’t many used boats available that are less than six years old, Young said. “People also like the new technology that’s going into these new boats. Joystick technology is something that people who’ve never boated can get the hang of in about five minutes, so it’s really drawn interest from new customers.”

Three of five boats were sold from Valkyrie Yacht Sales’ exhibit: the top-priced models, offered at more than $200,000 each. Ironically, the smaller $50,000 price-tagged boats didn’t sell.

“I would say it was probably the best show in the last five years,” Valkyrie president Anita Mays said.

The customers at the Lido Boat Show were serious buyers, she added. “It’s really a good time for a buyer to get a good value on a pre-owned boat.”

— Reagan Haynes

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