Seattle Boat Show attendance down 13 percent

SEATTLE — This year’s Seattle Boat Show, which ran from Jan. 23 to Feb. 1, saw 13 percent fewer attendees than 2008, according to a recent release from show organizers. However, the groups that put on the show, the Northwest Marine Trade Association and the Northwest Yacht Brokers Association, said the drop was less than anticipated, given the economy.

“I am encouraged by the turn-out and the volume of sales at the show,” said NMTA President Michael Campbell. “We still sold tickets in 24 states and six Canadian provinces and put on the largest boat show on the West Coast.”

Many exhibitors quoted in the release echoed that sentiment and reported that the buyers who did show up were serious.

“We felt that there were more real buyers at the show and fewer families out treating the boat show as weekend entertainment,” said Melinda Wade, a boat show committee member and owner Sport Boat Northwest.

Greg Allen, an NMTA board member and owner of Yachtmasters Northwest, noticed something similar.

“This is one of the more successful shows we have ever had in that the individuals who were there were boat owners looking to maintain and invest in their boats,” he said.

The 62nd Annual Seattle Boat Show featured 1,000 boats — including fishing boats, inboard cruisers, runabouts, kayaks, sailboats and inflatables. In addition, the show included accessories, electronics and seminars at the Qwest Field Event Center.

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