SARASOTA, Fla. — Attendance at the 33rd annual Suncoast Boat Show increased 12 percent, compared with 2014, and exhibitor participation at the three-day show was up 7 percent, organizers said.
In addition, the number of new and brokerage boats on display rose by 15 and 37 percent, respectively, and there was a 20 percent increase in the number of boats in the water.
“It was great to see the show increasing 20 percent in size over 2014 because it’s an excellent venue and place to meet our current clients and meet new people,” said Jimmy Rogers, a yacht broker with the Tom George Yacht Group, which sells brokerage boats and new boats from the Cobalt and EdgeWater brands.
“Current clients that were dormant for a long time are now wanting to get back into boating or make that upgrade they have been holding off on.”
Steven R. Stevens sold a boat to new clients from the east coast of Florida — Boca Raton. “It is good to see people from outside this immediate area travel here and buy a boat,” said Stevens, a yacht broker at Sarasota Yacht & Ship Services Inc., which is only a block away from the show site — Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota.
Stevens, who has been a broker with the company for four years and in the marine business for 16, sold a 2005 Meriden 368 motoryacht.
The in-water portion of the show expanded this year to the south end of Marina Jack and free off-site parking with shuttle service to and from Marina Jack worked well all weekend, according to Show Management, the company that owns and manages the show.
“The show's wow-factor got a big boost from the largest motoryacht we have ever had here, a 130-foot Westport,” Brett Keating, vice president of marketing for Show Management, said in a statement.
The Westport was one of the yachts on display from Galati Yacht Sales. “Not only are our sales growing, but our size is growing,” Galati vice president Darren Plymale said.
Galati has added staff and now has seven locations on the Gulf Coast and one in Costa Rica. Galati expanded its Sarasota display to 22 boats this year, including vessels from Tiara, Viking, Grand Banks and Prestige.
The Suncoast show ran from April 17-19. Active Interest Media owns Show Management and Soundings Trade Only.