Weather impacts Palm Beach boat show attendance

The Palm Beach International Boat Show saw lower attendance over the weekend after a strong start, with organizers blaming poor weather.

The four-day show wrapped up Sunday.

While show organizers did not release final attendance figures, they said the first two days of the show (Thursday, March 17, and Friday, March 18) saw record crowds. They reported that attendance was up 28 percent over the 2015 show for those two days, but that due to inclement weather over the weekend, there was a drop in Saturday and Sunday attendance compared to 2015.

The total number of boats in water was up 8 percent, with the 100-foot and larger category up 31 percent over 2015.  Boats 80 to 100 feet in size saw an increase of 32 percent.

"This show is now ranked among the largest boat and yacht shows in the nation and continues to grow across all size categories," said Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III, president of Show Management, the company that manages and produces the show.  "Record crowds on Thursday and Friday got the show off to a great start, and despite the rain over the weekend, exhibitor feedback was very positive about the show's appeal to qualified buyers."

This year's expansion, which included a new pier at the northern end of the show within Palm Harbor Marina, brought an additional 30 slips to showcase some of the largest yachts on display. The show also offered new valet parking at the northern entrance this year to encourage more traffic to the superyachts on site.

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"Despite traffic not being as strong due to weather, I think it was an excellent show for us," said Chris Callahan, sales and charter broker with Moran Yacht & Ship. "For pedigree boats like the ones we had in the show, we don't need a massive amount of traffic; just the right traffic. We had some great clients come in to visit our boats, so I think when all is said and done, this will be a great show for us."

The Palm Beach International Boat Show is owned and presented by the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Inc., managed and produced by Show Management, and sponsored by Budweiser, GEICO, Gosling's Rum, Palm Harbor Marina, Smallwoods Yachtwear, the Palm Beach Post and Yachting Pages.

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