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Suncoast Boat Show reports boost in attendance

The 34th annual Suncoast Boat Show, held April 15-17 at Marina Jack in Sarasota, Fla., was the largest since 2001.

The 34th annual Suncoast Boat Show, held April 15-17 at Marina Jack in Sarasota, Fla., was the largest since 2001 in terms of the number of boats and exhibitors on display.

The total number of boats in the water, including new and previously owned boats, was up 5 percent from last year. The number of new boats in the water this year increased 15 percent. Additionally, gate attendance was up 9.1 percent from 2015.

"Sarasota is a strong market for new boat sales, which is why this has become a show where exhibitors present an impressive selection of new, never before seen boats," Chris Fleming, who manages exhibitor sales development with Show Management, the company that owns and produces the show, said in a statement. "Shows like this are the best place for buyers to educate themselves and experience what is new on the market and then make knowledgeable purchases."

Recognized by industry-leading exhibitors as one of the top sales-producing boat shows on Florida's Gulf Coast, the show featured nearly 200 exhibitors showcasing an outstanding selection of boats, ranging from motoryachts and fishing boats to cruisers, runabouts and personal watercraft. Also on display were a full range of marine electronics and products, as well as paddleboards, canoes, kayaks and other on-the-water toys.

"Essentially it was a great show, drawing qualified attendees. And it's a beautiful setting for a boat show," said Mark Castlow, owner of Dragonfly Boatworks LLC, which had the company's 17 Dragonfly Classic, 17 Grand Slam and several paddleboards on display. "Our products are purpose-built for serious boaters and anglers and this show attracts the right kind of customer."

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