BOSTON — With no snow during all nine days of the New England Boat Show — and nearly springlike weather during the final weekend — exhibitors and organizers said the event was a success.
“It’s been good,” said show manager Joe O’Neal, who also announced his pending retirement. “You can’t really compare it with 2015 numbers because of all the snow last year, but we’re running about 15 percent ahead of 2014, and that was a good year.”
This year’s show was larger than the 2014 show (which was larger than its predecessor) with the addition of 150,000 square feet to accommodate builders that had dropped out during the recession, O’Neal said.
“We ran into some lack of inventory because people had such a good fall and didn’t get more in,” O’Neal said.
Sold signs adorned several boats, including the new 42-foot Scout, as well as several other larger boats at the show, such as the new 45-foot Cruisers Yachts Cantius, the new 43-foot Carver and a 35-foot Pursuit from Bosun’s Marine.
However, the “over 20-foot EdgeWater” is the sweet spot, said Bosun’s owner Tim Leedham.
“In fact, that EdgeWater,” Leedham said, pointing to the 248 CX, “is our biggest-selling model. We’ve sold six of them at this show. It’s big enough to handle big water, but it’s manageable to trailer.”
“There’s been a very positive vibe at this show,” he added.
Scott Hanson, owner of Canadian-built Rossiter Boats, also part of Bosun’s 45-boat display, said it had been a good show for his boats, as well.
“We’re doing better as a brand because of increased awareness and expanding our U.S. dealer network,” he said. “It’s been a good show. It’s one of our better years in terms of sales and interest.”
Hanson said the company had triple-digit growth last year and increased margins for U.S. and Canadian dealers.
“We build everything for the most part to order, but people who have them seem to love them,” Hanson said.
Dealer Ereck Sullivan said it was not just the product that had helped Rossiter gain recognition. “Rossiter has the best customer service of any brand I’ve done business with, by far. The others are good, don’t get me wrong, but Rossiter goes above and beyond every time.”
The weekdays of the show were a bit slower because it coincided with Massachusetts’ school vacation week, when many Sea Ray and Boston Whaler buyers are traveling, said Bill Irwin of Irwin Marine, who partners with Russo Marine for a New England show display.
“Last weekend and this weekend have been good,” Irwin said. “It’s been a good boating crowd. A lot of people are excited for spring when they go outside and it’s 50 degrees out.”
“This has been the best show for us since 2008,” said Larry Russo on Sunday. “As of last night we had sold 55 Whalers. I wish we had the big one here. Next year.” Four 31-foot Sea Ray SLX models were sold.
“It’s a good product; we are in a good place. We’re very blessed,” said Doug Nettles, regional manager for Boston Whaler.
Capt. John Bibeau, who sells Scout Boats for Danversport Marina, said the 42-foot Scout had been the boat of the show. The one on which he stood had been sold. So far the company has delivered 11 of the new models, with three serving as tenders. “We’ve sold four,” he added. “There’s a backlog now.”
Beneteau was doing well with the four powerboats and two sailboats brought by Cape Yachts, said Paul Sullivan, who invited a family to board the MC4, a 45-foot flybridge cruiser. A salesman for Cobalt Boats said the show was better than last year, adding that Cobalt buyers were out last year despite the snow.
“I’d say it’s excellent,” Rhonda Corey-Myers, business development manager at Boston Yacht Sales, said of this year’s show.
“When we bring in two boats and sell them both, it’s a good show for us,” said owner Michael Myers, gesturing to the Sabre 42SE and the Back Cove 37.
“Sabre and Back Cove are still in the sweet spot. Our biggest challenge with these brands is getting product.”