WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The 2015 Palm Beach International Boat Show, which took place in downtown West Palm Beach from March 26 to March 29, was the largest it ever has been, both in terms of exhibit space and the number of boats on display, with significant increases in megayachts and boats in the 40 to 60 foot segment, a sign of market strength that supports long-term industry growth.
There were 626 boats on display in the water, including 66 yachts larger than 100 feet. The largest yacht in the show was the 200-foot Lurssen motor yacht, Aurora.
- The number of boats in the 40 to 60 foot category grew 17 percent.
- The number of boats on land increased nearly 20 percent, with a total of 400 boats ranging in size from 10 to 38 feet.
- The number of boats on display in all categories was up eight percent.
- With sunny skies and comfortable temperatures over the weekend, attendance was up 17 percent overall.
"Over the past several years, the Palm Beach boat show has become a truly international boating lifestyle event and a resourceful setting for people to do business and see what the industry has to offer," said Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III, president of Show Management, the company that manages and produces the show. "We are always exploring new ways to expand and enhance the overall show experience, whether through physical layout changes or additional attractions and entertainment for people to enjoy. The show is well-poised for continued growth."
Attracting brands, buyers and sellers from around the world, the 2015 Palm Beach International Boat Show featured approximately $1.4 billion worth of yachts, boats and accessories from the world's leading marine manufacturers. In addition to the most respected American brands, the show included yachts from England, Italy, Germany, Spain, Turkey and China.
"The yachting business is an international business and we see clients at this show that come from around the world," said Robert Moran, president of Moran Yacht & Ship, a yacht brokerage and management company. "The Palm Beach Boat Show has developed into one of the major yachting events in the world, and accordingly, we bring some of our biggest yachts to this show. Everyone knows that Palm Beach is one of the true wealth centers of the world and the show works perfectly for us in terms of both sales and charters."
The show also is attracting many more shoppers from around North America.
"We are beginning to see a lot more boat buyers from all over the U.S. and Canada attend the Palm Beach Boat Show," said Tim Derrico, director of sales for HMY Yachts. "We sold around 10 boats at the show, along with several brokerage boats and trade-ins. We are working numerous other deals as a result of the show and expect the overall final results to be very good."
In addition to yacht brokerages, manufacturers and builders also leverage the show as a platform to reach consumers and foster industry relationships.
"The quality of prospective customers was positive and in addition to a lot of B2C action, we had the chance to develop serious B2B activity," said Alessandro Diomedi, Arcadia Yachts Americas Sales Manager. "One of our main goals is to expand our dealer network and the show provided a good platform for that, and, through collaboration with our current US-East Coast distributor, HMY Yachts, our strategic location at the show and marketing initiatives, which began at the 2014 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Arcadia Yachts now has developed consistent brand awareness among our audiences."
Several additions to this year's show contributed to huge crowds over the weekend, drawing many watersport and outdoor enthusiasts. The AquaZone entertained guests with live hovercraft, paddleboard and kayak demonstrations in a 40,000-gallon, freshwater pool.
"Every one of our divisions enjoyed record boat show sales," said Roger Moore, president of Nautical Ventures, which had several displays throughout the show including the new AquaZone drawing hundreds of people daily who came to watch the exciting demonstrations in a 40,000 gallon display pool. "Our partnership with Show Management has been a success and we're planning to bring the AquaZone to all future shows."
Swimwear fashion fittings were a huge hit at the Lands'End Getaway Tour, and IGFA School of Sportfishing seminars and youth fishing clinics presented by Hook The Future kept anglers of ages engaged throughout the show. Inaugural boat handling seminars and Tesla test drives were very well attended, and the show's free Come by Boat Dock was filled with boats every day.
"Through working with and listening to show exhibitors and the boating public, year after year we explore ways to deliver a more complete show experience to both buyers and sellers," said Brett Keating, vice president of marketing with Show Management. "We are always learning from attendees and exhibitors alike to make their show experience productive and enjoyable."
The show serves as the annual anchor event for the thriving Palm Beach County marine industry. According to a 2014 recreational marine industry economic impact study, Palm Beach County's marine industry had an estimated impact of more than $1.8 billion in gross output including $682 million in wages and earnings and an associated 18,220 jobs, up from 8,931 jobs in 2010. In 2013, Palm Beach County had 36,852 registered boats.