Boat Show season means new toys, new gadgets, new boats, and new boaters. It brings millions of dollars to an industry that people fear is fizzling away due to cutbacks and economic crisis. It energizes people to spend time on the water as a form of therapy and relaxation. It stresses those same people when repairs need to be made and paid for. It’s a love hate relationship for boaters. Yet the fresh air and water, sea salt and fish seem to continually flow through our blood. So despite the fact that we eat ramen noodles for dinner to be able to afford gas and beer for the boat, we get out every chance we can for a dose of “therapy.” Why? Because it is the one thing that calms the nerves, lowers the blood pressure, frees the spirit and releases endorphins when all else fails. Some of you know what I am talking about. Some of you will soon enough. Welcome to boating!
This years Miami show is proving to have been a major success as the preliminary figures begin to roll in. With a 1% increase in attendance over last year for the NMMA portion of the combined shows, vendors and exhibitors felt very pleased with the results from this years show. Brokers and dealers alike closed on many yachts and ended the show with enough leads to keep them busy for months. MarineMax, one of the largest brokers at the show, shared that they had results in the double digits over last years results. The largest boat at the Sea Isle Marina was Marlow Yachts Explorer 97E which made her debut AND was spoken for by show end. The Miami International Boat Show brings in 100,000 visitors and has an economic impact of a billion dollars for the area.
The Yacht and Brokerage show, produced by Show Management, which runs simultaneously with the Miami International Boat Show also showed great success. Many companies debuted new models of yachts, and an impressive number of showings. Ferretti Group alone had 25 yachts on display, many of which were sold by the show end, and 4 of which were debuts! Other companies such as Benetti, who hosted the largest yacht- “Diamonds are Forever” at 200 ft, debuted at least one new model at the show. With 4 days of perfect weather and one slightly rainy day, the Yacht and Brokerage Show was the cause for thousands of Tweets, Facebook Posts, Instagram photos and buzz- a marketing dream and a boaters paradise. Between the two shows, the city feels the residual impact within the marine industry for months after the events take place due to the consummating of deals initiated during the show and the servicing, fitting and refitting of boats and yachts purchased during the show.
Although the Miami International Boat Show is typically thought of the world’s largest and most influential show, there are many great shows that boating enthusiasts should attend. Some of the upcoming events include Palm Beach, nationally ranked in the top 5 shows, which takes place March 21st– March 24th in West Palm Beach, Florida. This show takes place along the intracoastal and features more than $1.2 billion worth of boats, yachts and marine accessories. Drawing a more sophisticated crowd due to its location and proximity to Palm Beach, this show is produced by the same company that puts on the Yacht and Brokerage Show in Miami and the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show. More information can be found on their site at http://www.showmanagement.com/palm-beach-boat-show/event/
Another great show every year is the Newport International Boat Show. This show is in its 43rd year running and takes place September 12-15th. Spanning along America’s Cup Avenue, multiple waterfront facilities will feature hundreds of boats and thousands of products and services. For more information, check out http://www.newportboatshow.com.
Annapolis, Maryland has several shows throughout the year. Starting in April they host a Spring Sailboat Show (April 26-28th), part of which includes Cruisers University, a great feature for new boaters to get you ready for boating season. In the fall however is when the big shows happen- The United States Powerboat Show, October 3rd-6th, followed by the United States Sailboat Show from October 10th-14th. The Powerboat Show boasts the honor of being the nations largest in-water powerboat exhibition and includes an Antique and Classic boat portion. The Sailboat show is recognized worldwide as the premier sailing showcase- the place to buy, sell or dream! More information on all of these events can be found at www.usboat.com
Boat Shows are the best way to get an idea of what is on the market in the way of newest technology, design, and trends. They are not only fun to walk around, but a great way to learn. They typically offer classes geared towards safer boating and best practices while on the water and many of these are free. If you are at all serious about boating and being a boat owner, attending some of these boat shows is a must, and also the perfect way to spend your Saturday afternoon (unless you’re on a boat, of course!).