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Palm Beach show reports 14 percent attendance gain

The Palm Beach International Boat Show, which ran March 23-26, had the largest display of boats in the show's 32-year history and a 14 percent attendance increase from 2016, show organizers said Tuesday.

"Year over year, this show continues to grow in exhibitor participation and guest attendance, which speaks to both the strength of the boating industry and the unique, global appeal of Palm Beach as its location," said Andrew Doole, senior vice president and COO of Show Management, the company that manages and produces the show.

The total number of boats in water increased 6 percent over the 2016 show, with the most dramatic growth seen in the 80-to-100-foot category, up 17 percent. The show featured more than $1.2 billion worth of yachts and accessories, including hundreds of boats ranging from small inflatables and tenders, center consoles and sportfishers to some of the largest yachts in the world.

"We saw increased traffic at this year's show and positive activity between brokers and clients," said Mike Busacca, chief operating officer of Fraser Yachts. "Overall, the show atmosphere was optimistic and was a good showcase for us heading into the summer season."

This year's event featured a line-up of new yacht builders including Amels, Feadship, Heesen, and Moonen in a new "Superyacht Villas" section at the center of the show.

"The Palm Beach International Boat Show was a great experience. We really appreciated the quality of the visitors as well as the international press attendance. We believe this show is a fantastic display opportunity," said Sara Gioanola, public relations manager for Heesen Yachts.

In addition to the boats and exhibits, the show offered educational activities, including free youth fishing clinics by Hook The Future, IGFA School of Sportfishing seminars, long-range cruising clinics and on-the-water boat handling classes.

"This year was better than ever before, with huge happy crowds enjoying the show and making memories," said Captain Don Dingman, founder of Hook The Future. "There were lots of future fishermen with their families who turned out for the clinics. It was great to see so many new families eager to learn the basics about fishing, as well as kids who have attended our clinics in the past."

The 2017 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, Goslings, Palm Harbor Marina, Smallwood's Yachtwear, the Palm Beach Post and Yachting Pages.

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