They are two of the boating industry's biggest all-trade events -- the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference and the Marine Retailers Associaiton of America’s Marine Dealer Conference and Expo – and both will end their generous early-bird discount registration programs next week.

IBEX 2011 is slated for Oct. 17-19 in Louisville, Ky. However, the early-bird registration discounts close out next Monday, Sept. 12, when the variety of savings being offered on everything from the full conference registration to a single session fee will disappear. The savings are substantial.

Never thought about going to IBEX? Perhaps the IBEX name should be modified because it doesn’t reflect all of what IBEX offers. Specifically, while IBEX is the consummate event for boatbuilding technologies, it is also a solid bet for boat dealers and those who repair boats. In addition to a big exposition, IBEX offers more than 90 educational seminars featuring more than 100 industry speakers. Particularly notable for dealers is this year’s expanded dealer development track and the management, marine services and operations track. These tracks have speakers on everything from boatyard and marina operations to dealer marketing ideas and boat show issues.

In addition, IBEX also features hands-on education and demonstrations valuable to dealers. For example, pros from Dr. Shrink will reveal methods that avoid shrinkwrapping frustrations during daily hands on sessions. Or, a team from Gibco Flex-Mold will demonstrate a process that allows dealers to successfully repair or re-pattern damaged parts, to note just a couple of this year’s demos.

To get a complete look at IBEX 2011, go to There you can also register for the educational sessions of your choice and grab the discount, too. Notably, only the seminars have a registration fee. Admission to the expo halls is always free.

When it comes to the MDCE, if you’re thinking “maybe I should,” do it! It has seen major growth the last three years and with good reason. The MDCE, is set for the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 6-9. It is the industry’s largest annual gathering of marine retailers. A total focus on dealer issues and education, along with a more than 100,000- square- foot exhibition of appropriate products and services, is the hallmark of its success. But, its early-bird discount registration ends next Friday, Sept. 16. That could save you hundreds.

The MDCE is a partnership between MRAA and Boating Industry magazine. The exhibition allows dealers to explore profit potentials from the latest trends, equipment and services with manufacturers and service providers.

But the real heart of the MDCE is its educational lineup. That consists of three different tracks to improve performance and profits, namely the powering profits track, the service track and the sales and marketing track. Every session boasts speakers and experts whose paramount focus is presenting successful business strategies and best practices to those marine dealers in attendance.

Among the major improvements at this year’s MDCE will be the seminar rooms that can be integrated into the big expo hall at the Gaylord Palms. This will allow dealers more time and convenience for attending sessions while also interacting with exhibitors.

To review the MDCE details and to register, simply go to, click on events and MDCE.


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