WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Overall ticket sales at the Palm Beach International Boat Show increased 6 percent from last year, according to Show Management, organizers of the event.
Exhibitor revenue rose 5 percent, and the number of boats — new and used — 100 feet and larger was up by 35 percent and the number of boats from 80 to 100 feet increased by 29 percent, according to Show Management. The show ran from March 22-25.
One of the yachts on display was the largest in the 27-year history of the show, a 200-foot Benetti named Diamonds Are Forever.
Click play for a virtual tour of the show.
When show-goers come to the West Palm Beach event, many are prepared to buy, said Mike Strassel of HMY Yachts.
"It’s a buyer’s show, from our experience,” Strassel said. "We chose to make our largest display here at the Palm Beach show because buyers, after attending Fort Lauderdale and attending Miami and narrowing down their searches, will come here and close deals. We do a lot of business at this show and it is an important part of our yearly sales program."
HMY operates in nine locations from Florida to South Carolina. It represents four brands: Viking, Tiara, Maritimo and Grand Banks. HMY had 59 new boats and 37 used boats from 31 to 162 feet at the show. "An important part of our marketplace is our brokerage and it's the new sales that fuel our brokerage," Strassel said.
Builders of smaller boats also were excited to be in West Palm Beach. "This is our ninth year,” said Bob Chew, general manager of Albury Brothers Boatbuilding Co., a builder of semicustom runabouts. The company had its 23-foot center console with forward seating on display.
“We’ve been at this show every year since we've been in business here in Florida. It’s our hometown show because we are just up the road in Riviera Beach, and it is a very important show for us.”
In March of 2010, the Palm Beach show was the first to show signs of growth after a couple of years of declines in boat sales and exhibitor participation, Zimbalist said.
"Since then, every show that AIM has held has been better than the previous show in terms of exhibitor participation and attendance," he said. "We had a slight dip in Fort Lauderdale in November  because of the deluge of rain. Otherwise everything has pointed up. The growth hasn't been dramatic or double-digit, but it has been good, steady growth in terms of attendance and exhibitor participation."
— Chris Landry