Attendance at the 2016 Palm Beach International Boat Show increased by nearly 30 percent during the first two days of the event, but inclement weather prevented the heavy crowds from continuing through the remainder of the weekend, according to show organizers.
“Despite the rain over the weekend, exhibitor feedback was very positive about the show's appeal to qualified buyers," Show Management CEO Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III said in a statement.
The largest in its 31-year history, the March 17-20 show saw an increase of 8 percent in the total number of boats and a 31 percent boost in the number of boats larger than 100 feet. The number of boats from 80 to 100 feet increased by 32 percent, and there was a 6 percent increase in the number of boats under 100 feet.
The show featured its largest yacht ever — the 253-foot Silver Fast. And there was an additional 30 slips this year at a new pier at the show’s northern end at Palm Harbor Marina, holding some of the largest yachts.
Big boats are selling well, said Chuck Cashman, MarineMax executive vice president of sales, marketing and manufacturer relations.
“We were up 30 percent in overall sales dollars but a little lighter — about 5 percent — on units sold, compared to last year,” Cashman told Trade Only in a phone interview today. “We sold a couple big boats at the show, and that made a big difference. [That trend of larger boats selling] has been evident at all of the shows.”
MarineMax sold an 84-foot Azimut and a 70-foot Hatteras, he said. A 112-foot Ocean Alexander was the dealership network’s largest yacht at the event. MarineMax consists of 59 dealerships in the United States, selling brands such as Azimut, Benetti, Sea Ray, Boston Whaler and Scout.
Weather-wise, Sunday was not a bad day, Cashman said, “but the forecast called for 100 percent rain, so I think some people just stayed away.”
They kept coming to the Vicem Yachts display for all four days, said Gary Smith, co-president of Sarasota Yacht & Ship in Sarasota, Fla., the distributor of Vicem in the Americas. “This was our best Palm Beach in recent times,” said Smith. (This was Vicem’s 16th year at the show.) “Three new builds will come out of this show,” he added. “Foot traffic was pretty consistent throughout, and the quality buyers were there.”
Vicem had five yachts on display, including a new 65 Classic Flybridge customized for a 6-foot, 7-inch former basketball player.
With four staterooms and three heads, Patrick Caldwell and his wife, Rebecca, will have plenty of room for their three grandchildren, ages 7, 5 and 3. “I can’t think of a better way to enjoy my family,” said Caldwell, 72, who will enjoy 7 feet of headroom in the forward master stateroom and head.
The Palm Beach show is owned and presented by the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County Inc., and it is managed and produced by Show Management.