The value of boat shows was authenticated again last weekend. In Seattle, the inaugural April Boats Afloat Show drew crowds to the renovated Lake Union Piers in downtown. In Ohio, even wind and cold couldn’t stop show attendees.
The Boats Afloat Show was produced by the Northwest Yacht Brokers Association. Earlier this year, NYBA announced that it will annually stage two in-water shows, with the spring edition and another in September.
“Our inaugural April Boats Afloat Show was a huge success,” said Schelleen Rathkopf, NYBA director of operations. “Over the four days, thousands of visitors walked the docks, met with brokers and dealers, and climbed aboard an outstanding collection of new and used yachts currently available here in the Pacific Northwest.”
The show also set a festive atmosphere throughout the newly renovated Lake Union Piers. Live music, floating bars, chef presentations, batch cocktail demos and more kept the Piers alive all day.
“We were very satisfied with this inaugural show and the customers that attended,” said Ray Prokorym, managing director of Worth Avenue Yachts. “In spite of the relatively low inventory, we still found a lot of demand and energy around our listings. We also met with people looking at building a new boat, chartering or looking to list their boat to move up. This location in the heart of Seattle combined with the start of the boating season is a definitely a winning combination.”
Yacht consultant Tony Witek, of Emerald Pacific Yachts, echoed the enthusiasm. “Many customers recognized the value of the event, given the current market conditions, and appreciated being able to actually see some new listings, both new and used, in the show,” Witek said. “We also saw a younger type of buyer that cited the value in physically getting aboard — the tangible part of buying a boat. We also noted some very informed buyers; some clients said they specifically came to the show only to see one or two models.”
“I couldn't be more thrilled with this inaugural Spring show,” said Meagan Randall, a marine finance specialist with Lending Associates. “We had very positive feedback from both attendees and exhibitors, who cited the number of special show features, like the 90-foot Olympic Star moored at the show as our floating restaurant and bar.”
Added Paul F. Groesbeck (Irwin Yacht Sales), NYBA board president: “After collecting feedback over the years from yacht brokers and event visitors alike, we are now on course for two, four-day shows a year. The timing of both is perfect for attendees to gear up for their next boating adventure. Our team has done a great job.”
The fall Boats Afloat is slated for Sept. 15-18.
The Show Goes On
It was the 17th annual edition of the Catawba Island Boat Show on Lake Erie, and it chalked up a successful three-day run despite winds and showers on Saturday, normally the biggest day for crowds.
“Opening Friday was cool but sunny, and a normal first-day crowd came through the gate,” said LEMTA president Michelle Burke. “Saturday was another story. Cutting winds were coming off the cold Lake Erie waters, occasional showers taunted us, and the day that normally sees the biggest attendance took an understandable hit.”
Fortunately, it didn’t last. Sunday dawned calm and sunny. The temperature pushed 70 degrees, and attendees pushed through the front gate for a big comeback.
“Overall, it was a world-class nautical event,” said LEMTA chairman Tom Mack (South Shore Marine).
Mack was not only referring to the attendance, but also pointed to the variety of crowd-pleasing features built into the show, including a new Paddling Discovery Center, fishing seminars, a food-truck rally, a Nautical Crafts and Artisan’s Marketplace, and a Family Patio with games and “even a fire pit complete with smores,” Mack quipped.
“It was a winner for us. This was our first time exhibiting in this show. It’s a beautiful location,” said Jim Armington (Buckeye Sports Center), referring to the marina at the Catawba Island Club. “We connected with lots of new people that will now know us when we open our second location in nearby Huron later this summer. Best of all, we even sold some boats.”
The show is produced by the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association and tentative dates for 2023 are April 28-30.