VIDEO: Dealers optimistic after Suncoast Boat Show


The 31st annual Suncoast Boat Show wrapped up Sunday, with boat dealers and vendors saying attendance and business activity were strong.


“We’re having a fantastic show with 20 boats on display and 13 new and seven pre-owned,” said Darren Plymale, general manager of Galati Yachts in Tampa, Fla., a Tiara, Cruisers and Viking dealer. “Traffic has been outstanding. Sales leads have been great.”

Galati had 19 salespeople at the event showing boats from 31 to 97 feet. Its Marlow 97E was the largest boat at the show.

“We typically don’t sell a lot at the show,” Plymale said. “We take it back to the office and people make buying decisions at home, and we go for sea trials and then we zero in from there.”

Click play for scenes from the show.

Steve Parks, owner of Calypso Classic LLC in Palm Harbor, Fla., will be zeroing in on several potential buyers this week. He has scheduled six sea trials of his 23-foot center console.

“Sarasota is a great show for its quality clientele and the quality of the leads,” Parks said Monday morning. “The sea trials I have are with seasoned, serious boaters and set up after conversations of 20 minutes to an hour.”

It’ll be a busy week for Capt. Mike Adams, a salesman with Cannons Marina on Longboat Key, Fla., a dealer for the Grady-White, Scout, Southwind and Jupiter brands. He will be carrying out four sea trials of the new Jupiter 41, a head-turning, triple-outboard sport yacht from the Palmetto, Fla., builder.

“You have to get people on the water,” Adams said. “And that is what we are doing. People enjoy the traditional sales process. They want to be sold. You need to tell them why they need to buy and why it is a better boat than the competition. They need to be educated and you need to be happy to educate them.”

The show is produced by Show Management, which is owned by Active Interest Media, the company that owns Soundings Trade Only. Attendance figures were not immediately available.

— Chris Landry