The International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference, set to run Tuesday through this afternoon in Tampa, Fla., closed at 12:30 p.m. today because of Hurricane Matthew.
IBEX organizers said the 2016 event was still a success. It attracted more than 6,000 registered industry professionals during its first two days.
Unfortunately, with Hurricane Matthew heading toward Florida, many local marine industry companies were unable to attend because they had to tend to both personal and professional hurricane preparations, show organizers said.
IBEX drew marine industry professionals from around the globe to visit 556 exhibiting companies covering 118,000 square feet of exhibit space.
“A record-breaking 750 marine professionals kicked off the event at the Industry Breakfast and heard firsthand the exciting news about the new partnership between METS Trade and IBEX,” IBEX show director Anne Dunbar in a statement. “The two floors of the trade show were buzzing throughout the first two days, with hundreds of new products and technologies being introduced.”
Matthew, once again a Category 4 hurricane hammering the northwest Bahamas, is hours away from beginning a potentially devastating, rare Category 4, even Category 5 assault on Florida's east coast, according to The Weather Channel’s most recent update.
The hurricane is expected to bring dangerous storm surge, destructive winds and flooding rainfall to Florida’s east coast, stretching into Georgia and South Carolina, into the weekend.
“There was definitely a sense of excitement and enthusiasm on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Dunbar said. “Unfortunately, with Hurricane Matthew bearing down on Florida, many exhibitors had to leave Wednesday evening, and we are closing the show at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday to give exhibitors extra time to break down their booths.”