It was anchors aweigh for the Palm Beach International Boat Show, as elected officials and event stakeholders gathered on the West Palm Beach waterfront for the show’s opening ceremony. The boat show also hosted an exclusive luncheon for business leaders in the Blue Heron Ballroom at The Ben, Autograph Collection, which featured a conversation with Jack and Gary Nicklaus, moderated by Rena Blades, director of community and government affairs for the boat show.
The inaugural “Charting the Course” Business Leadership Luncheon commemorated the 40th anniversary of the boat show, and brought together leaders from all sectors in order to build relationships and celebrate the economic impact of the marine industry. The event represented a collaboration between the Marine Industries of Association of Palm Beach County (MIAPBC), Informa Markets, and the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County.
“We have a mission to promote the growth of the marine industry for the benefit of our members, the community, and the environment,” said Alyssa Freeman, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, before welcoming West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James to the podium.
“We are so thrilled to have you in our city. The boat show is very important to our economy as West Palm Beach continues to grow and become more vibrant,” said Mayor James, as he thanked and congratulated the MIAPBC and Informa Markets.
“We’re very excited about the impact this show has had on West Palm Beach, and we’re also proud to be environmental stewards,” said Andrew Doole, president of the U.S. Boat Shows Division with Informa Markets. The U.S. Boats Show Division presented the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida with a donation of $300,000 to support their efforts in protecting marine wildlife and advancing sustainability.
“This donation is greatly appreciated and will help us continue promoting habitat conservation and healthy waterways overall in the state,” said Andrew Walker, president and CEO of the Fish & Wildlife Foundation.
At the luncheon, Jack and Gary Nicklaus were invited to the stage for a conversation and a Q&A about their family’s love of marine life and conservation, passion for fishing, and dedication to philanthropy.
“The boating industry is one of the pillars of Florida’s economy,” said Jack Nicklaus. “It not only provides fun, healthy recreation, but also creates thousands of jobs. The future is bright and the opportunities are strong if all of us pull together to capture the tremendous potential that these great waters of ours have to offer.”