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Seattle Boat Show reports increased attendance

By Northwest Marine Trade Association

The 71st annual Seattle Boat Show wrapped up Saturday, Feb. 3, with an increase in attendance of 2.1 percent over 2017.

The nine-day event attracted visitors from 43 states, five Canadian provinces and from as far away as Australia.

Attendance was 52,928 compared to 51,864 last year. Exhibitors across the board were extremely positive about the quantity and quality and positive attitude of show attendees.

The addition of a third location – Bell Harbor Marina – was received enthusiastically by attendees and exhibitors alike.

“We were very pleased to see an increase in attendance,” said George Harris, President/CEO, Northwest Marine Trade Association. Attendees showed up with enthusiasm, ready to shop, plan and prepare for every type of boating in the Northwest, and the reports from our exhibitors are some of the most positive we’ve seen in years.”

Exhibitors from all aspects of the industry had extremely positive things to say about the show:

 “In 25 years of doing this show, this is the most enthusiastic crowd I’ve seen. People were here not just looking but looking to purchase a boat. We sold more boats than ever before at a boat show.”
Jeff Messmer, Vice President, Ranger Tugs/Cutwater Boats

"The 2018 Seattle Boat Show proved to be our most successful show in years. The addition of the Bell Harbor Marina venue was a fantastic way to engage new boating enthusiasts from all around the region. Our Ocean Alexander 100 with the beautiful Seattle skyline in the background was the most popular spot in the show with lines during all hours to get a peek. We are looking forward to more sales from the show and a great start to the 2018 boating season!”
Ashley Harper, Creative & Marketing Director, Alexander Marine USA

“We loved the addition of Bell Harbor Marina to the show. We not only had boats on display at the indoor location, but we were also able to offer sea trials from Bell Harbor which was enormously successful. Everyone who went for a ride ended up writing a check.”
Micah Bowers, CEO, Life Proof Boats

· This show was phenomenal despite the extremely wet weather. The energy was good, people were really excited. I was very busy throughout the show working on approvals that came in directly from sales during the show. Normally I don’t see that level of activity until after a show.”
Meagan Randall, Finance Manager Seattle, Lending Associates

· “We had a very nice uptick in all categories over our great show last year. We were particularly happy with our mid-size and large cruisier segment that really erupted into a big win. We are enormously pleased to see that the family “cruising-boat” enthusiast is back and enjoying the new line of Sea Ray sport cruisers”
Kevin Roggenback, CEO, Lake Union Sea Ray

“Pre-show sale sales were gangbusters for us and the momentum continued through the show. We’re delighted to be part of what we believe is the best boat show in the country. We saw a great balance of sales in all categories. And as pleasing, we saw people new to Seattle and Seattle boating. We anticipate a great year ahead.” James Baker, Vice President, Seattle Boat Company.

“We had an excellent show, one of the best shows we’ve had in years. We saw a lot of people who had purchased new boats or boats new to them and were making upgrades.”
Greg Allen, S3 Maritime

Other very encouraging signs for the Northwest recreational boating industry are the just released numbers for new boat sales in Washington State.

According to UW Sea Grant, which compiles sales data from the Washington State Department of Licensing, new boat sales were up 21.6 percent  in units and up 87.2 percent in dollar value.

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