Palm Beach show reports attendance boost

Organizers of the 30th annual Palm Beach International Boat Show say attendance increased by a whopping 17 percent from last year.
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Attendance was up 17 percent at this year's Palm Beach International Boat Show, which is in its 30th year.

Attendance was up 17 percent at this year's Palm Beach International Boat Show, which is in its 30th year.

Organizers of the 30th annual Palm Beach International Boat Show say attendance increased by a whopping 17 percent from last year, with manufacturers, dealers and brokerages reporting that the docks were bustling with enthusiastic buyers and sales were strong.

“The consumer was back in the market on all levels,” Show Management CEO Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III said. “Attendance at the show hit an all-time high, and the total number of boats overall was up 8 percent, the highest it has been since 2007 and very close to a record high.”

The show’s increase in boats 60 feet and under stands out as a sign of market strength that will support long-term industry growth, said Zimbalist.

Manufacturers and brokerage companies not only sold new and brokerage boats, they came away with strong leads and sea trials.

“Attitudes are good, and there are a lot of boat buyers out there, ready and willing to purchase,” says Tim Derrico, national sales manager of HMY Yacht Sales, which had more than 60 new and brokerage boats on display. “We probably did about 10 deals at the boat show between brokerage boats, new boats and trade-ins. This includes the sale of three Cruisers Yachts from 32 to 48 feet and two Princess Yachts. In brokerage, we sold a Grand Banks 54. Activity was really good. All of our [sales] guys are excited about the follow-ups they have to work on.”

Denison Yacht Sales sold at least five yachts, including a Monte Carlo MC4, Beneteau GT 44 and Beneteau 49, said Denison president Bob Denison.

“It was a really good show for us,” said Denison. “We saw a lot of existing clients and new clients. We had a very noticeable increase in traffic -- probably about 20 percent from last year at both of our displays. The event was really solid, especially on Saturday and Sunday.”

Mark Castlow, owner of Dragonfly Boatworks, said the “festival-like” atmosphere of the Palm Beach show helps attract boaters. “People like being outside and on the water,” said Castlow, who sold four of his custom skiffs – three 15s and one 17.

Zimbalist said there were more megayachts at this year’s show than ever before and the number of boats from 40 to 60 feet jumped by 17 percent from last year.

The four-day event (March 26-29) showcased 632 boats in the water, including 80 yachts of more than 100 feet and 60 boats from 80 to 90 feet, Zimbalist said. Plus, there was surge of 15 to 20 percent in the number of boats on display on land, with a total of 400 boats from 10 to 38 feet, he added.

The largest yacht and second-largest in the history of the Palm Beach show was a 200-foot 2010 Lurssen, the Aurora.

“Various new watersport attractions and entertainment helped make this show a super weekend for people who love boating,” said Zimbalist.

The new attractions included AquaZone presented by the Nautical Ventures Marine Superstore, which had a 60-foot by 40-foot demonstration pool with in-water demos and hands-on testing of paddleboards, kayaks and other water-sports products.

The Palm Beach show is owned and sponsored by the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County and organized by Fort Lauderdale-based Show Management. Active Interest Media is the parent company of Show Management and Soundings Trade Only.

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