Suncoast Boat Show reports boost in attendance

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Organizers reported a 16.5 percent attendance increase from last year at the 35th Annual Suncoast Boat Show, which took place at Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota from April 21-23.

Organizers also reported the largest exhibit of boats in a decade, with 11 percent growth in the number of boats on display in the water and on land. The largest increase was in new boats 30 feet and larger.

“We sold the highest number of units and reached the highest revenue ever,” MarineMax general manager Jason LeFevre said in a statement. “The show was great. Everything ran smoothly, traffic was up and we hope to make our display even bigger next year.”

With 125 exhibitors, the show featured a selection of boats ranging from motoryachts and fishing boats to cruisers, runabouts and personal watercraft.

“We saw existing customers who were looking to upgrade and also got great sales from many first-time buyers who came to the show,” Galati Yacht Sales operations manager Alex Kramer said. “We were able to write a few deals and left the show with momentum.”

“Overall, the show was very busy for us,” said Joe Hackelberg, operations manager with Marlow Yachts, a first-time exhibitor. “The exposure was certainly good, and I would venture to say that we will have a presence in the show next year.”

New this year, Hook The Future Kids’ Fishing Clinics drew young anglers throughout the weekend.

“The Sarasota market continues to grow and fuel the growth of this show,” said Brett Keating, vice president of marketing for Show Management, the company that owns and produces the show. “This is a fabulous city for a boat show, and many exhibitors expanded their space and range of products on display this year,” she added. “We’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the show’s success in so many different ways.”

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