Organizers said attendance at the 2018 Refit International Exhibition & Conference increased by 28 percent from the previous year.
Boat repairers and builders constituted 21 percent of those who attended the show, which was held on Wednesday and Thursday of last week at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. Captains and crew were 19 percent of the attendees, and refit service providers were 15 percent.
Organizers said an expanded exhibit hall and conference program, daily networking events and live demonstrations attracted the sizable crowd of refit-industry professionals.
Seminar attendance tripled. Attendees were able to earn professional certifications from the American Boat Builders & Repairers Association or Bluewater Crew Training.
Industry publication The Triton hosted two special events — a Yacht Owners Panel and a Captains' Roundtable.
The Marine Industries Association of South Florida hosted a workforce development event and a workshop on Fort Lauderdale's Foreign Trade Zones. Exhibitors presented live demonstrations in the middle of the exhibit hall.
"We've had extremely positive feedback about the 2018 Refit show from our exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees," Jim Miller, Refit show director, said in a statement. "The high quality of our attendees was a direct reflection of the value they found in our seminars and special events. We're already looking for new ways to add even more value to our 2019 Refit Show to continue the event's steady growth."
Next year's show will be held April 10-11, again at the Broward County Convention Center.
Organizers said the April dates will coincide with the traditional yacht circuit that moves from the Caribbean to Florida in early spring, allowing more captains and crew to attend the show.