Suncoast Boat Show reports largest event since 2001

This year's 34th annual Suncoast Boat Show at Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota was the largest since 2001 in terms of the number of boats and exhibitors on display, show organizers said.

The total number of boats in-water, including new and previously owned boats, was up 5 percent over last year's show. The number of new boats in-water this year increased 15 percent. Additionally, gate attendance was up by 9.1 percent compared to 2015.

"Sarasota is a strong market for new boat sales, which is why this has become a show where exhibitors present an impressive selection of new, never before seen boats," said Chris Fleming, who manages exhibitor sales development with Show Management, the company that owns and produces the show. "Shows like this are the best place for buyers to educate themselves and experience what is new on the market and then make knowledgeable purchases."

the show featured nearly 200 exhibitors showcasing a selection of boats ranging from motor yachts and fishing boats to cruisers, runabouts and personal watercraft. Also on display were a full range of marine electronics and products, as well as paddleboards, canoes, kayaks and other on-the-water toys.

"Essentially it was a great show, drawing qualified attendees. And it's a beautiful setting for a boat show," said Mark Castlow, owner of Dragonfly Boatworks LLC, which had the company's 17 Dragonfly Classic, 17 Grand Slam and several paddleboards on display. "Our products are purpose-built for serious boaters and anglers and this show attracts the right kind of customer."

The Suncoast Boat Show in Sarasota is presented, managed and produced by Show Management. This year's event was sponsored by Budweiser, Gosling's Rum, Sarasota Magazine, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and WWSB ABC7.

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