Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Connecticut show reports increase in attendance

A week after the Newport International Boat Show drew inviting weather and solid attendance to Rhode Island, the Norwalk International Boat Show in neighboring Connecticut continued the trend.

Amid clear skies and crisp early fall weather, the docks were steady after a slow start on Thursday and overall show attendance increased by 12 percent this year, according to show manager Jonathan Pritko.

“Beautiful weekend weather and new family attractions drew crowds, and we received positive reports on sales and leads from dealers throughout the show,” Pritko told Trade Only Today morning. “We also heard many attendees comment on the variety of boats and new products at the show, thanks to a terrific group of exhibitors this year.”

Optimism seemed consistent among the more than 250 exhibitors that displayed hundreds of boats.

“Interest is up and it has expanded across the whole product line. It’s good to see,” said Greg Idol, a sales rep for Grady-White Boats. “We’re starting to see signs that we haven’t seen since ’08.”

From his perspective, and that of several other dealers at the show, the “payment buyer” has yet to return, but professionals and others who have fared well through the recession are the primary buyers in this market.

Overall, dealers say they’re seeing a clear trend among shoppers.

“Realistically, I think people are tired of not giving themselves a present,” said Dick Budka of Petzold’s Marine Center, which carries the Sabre and Back Cove lines, among others.

Sabre Yachts has been one of the beneficiaries of the changing buyer attitude.

“We’ve been doing OK for about two years now,” Sabre Yachts vice president of marketing and sales Bentley Collins said. “We’re building five or six boats a month, with a backlog into June 2013. The worst is over.”

— Rich Armstrong

Related

AIM Marine Group Hosts Meet the Editors Event

More than a dozen editors from Active Interest Media’s Marine Group participated in the day-long, information-sharing event.

Fairline Makes Leadership Appointments

The British luxury boatbuilder founded plans to chart its course for the future with a new CEO and the return of Derek Carter as chairman.

Battle on the Great Lakes Rages On

The Icebreaker Wind Turbine Development faces strong headwinds from boating and fishing groups.

Limestone Boat Co. Expands Dealer Network

The company adds four new dealers to its roster, with three to represent Aquasport Boats.

NMEA Announces ‘22 Training Course Schedule

For next year, marine training courses will be offered as virtual and in-person sessions for basic marine electronics installers, and in-person only for advanced installers.

GM Invests $150M in Electric Boat Start-Up

General Motors has acquired a 25-percent stake in Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based e-propulsion outfit.

Patrick Acquires Marine and RV Seating Maker

The Elkhart, Ind.-based component manufacturer finalized its purchase of Williamsburg Marine and Williamsburg Furniture.