The Norwalk International Boat Show is still returning to its former size after the recession, but exhibitors said buyers were out at the four-day 2016 show, which ran from Sept. 22-25.
Organizers of the Connecticut show said attendance was 14,839, a 6 percent increase from 2015. Traffic on the docks at the in-water show included owners who were looking to trade up, trade down or accessorize their boats.
“The show grew by almost 20 percent this year, allowing us to offer attendees access to more new products and more options as they shop for their next boat,” show manager Jon Pritko said. “Beautiful weather was on our side throughout the weekend, and exhibitors have reported that the attendee profile was skewed toward qualified buyers, which led to a positive sales environment.”
The weather was mostly gorgeous, as heat on the opening day of the Thursday-to-Sunday show gave way to cooler, sunny fall days the rest of the week, according to the National Manufacturers Association, which runs the show.
The Norwalk show has traditionally been an excellent show for the company, MarineMax Norwalk general manager David Dzurilla said at the show.
“We’ve always invested a lot in this show,” he said. The “Queen of the Show,” brought by MarineMax, was a 66-foot Galeon making its Northeastern debut. The yacht had been sold to owners who took ownership six weeks before the show.
Boston Whaler was also a busy section of the show, with 11 boats on display, said Will Rogers, who is head of sales for large Whalers (boats with triple or quad engines).
Traffic on the docks at Norwalk was solid because of the fine weather.
“This show’s going very well,” Rogers said. “We’re having some phenomenal weather. We’ve had good traffic all morning.”
Rogers said browsers were not only qualified, but they also were diverse. “This guy here is a sailboater, who has a couple Whalers and wants to upsize,” Rogers said, gesturing to a man on board the 320 Vantage. “We’ve also had a couple of megayacht captains come through looking for tenders. We’ve seen everybody today.”
Bentley Collins of Sabre Yachts and Back Cove Yachts was taking two prospective Sabre buyers out on Friday evening at the show for sea trials.
“It’s been a typical Norwalk show, which is to say, sparser traffic than we have at some shows, but always quality buyers,” Collins said.