Palm Beach International Boat Show Marks 31 Years of Growth

Size and number of boats on display ranks show third largest in U.S.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Palm Beach International Boat Show wrapped up on Sunday, March 20 with crowds continuing to flow through the show until the very end.

The first two days of the show, Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18, saw attendance up 28 percent over the 2015 show.  Due to inclement weather over the weekend, there was a drop in Saturday and Sunday attendance compared to 2015, but the clouds did not deter crowds of boaters who enjoyed the cooler temperatures.

The number of boats on display increased in all size categories, both in water and on land. The total number of boats in water was up eight 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 Palm Beach International Boat 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 new valet parking at the show’s northern entrance offered visitors easy access to many of the superyachts.

“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.”

With its increasingly international appeal, the 31st annual event featured more than $1.5 billion worth of yachts, boats and accessories from the world’s leading marine manufacturers, including hundreds of boats ranging from superyachts nearing 300 feet to small inflatables and other tenders, center consoles and sportfishers.

The AquaZone™, a 40,000 gallon, freshwater pool featuring live hovercraft, jet board, kayak, stand-up-paddleboard and other water toy demonstrations, drew energetic crowds, while an array of seminars satisfied on-the-water enthusiasts of all kinds. CruiserPort seminars by PassageMaker Magazine delivered education for long-term cruising enthusiasts and the IGFA School of Sportfishing seminars and youth fishing clinics presented by Hook The Future were well attended all weekend. The floating cocktail lounges were filled with spirited crowds each day and many guests enjoyed arriving at the show via the popular Come-by-Boat dock.

“This was our seventh time showcasing the AquaZone and it gets better with every event,” said Nautical Ventures CEO Roger Moore, who conceptualized the traveling pool in 2014 with the help of Show Management. “Displaying the AquaZone allowed us to bring the in-water experience that our retail customers get from our waterfront stores to the Palm Beach boat show, and it proved to be a hot attraction this year.”

As of October 2014, Palm Beach County’s marine industry had an estimated economic impact of $1.883 billion in gross output including $682.1 million in wages and earnings and an associated 18,220 jobs.

The Palm Beach International Boat Show is owned and presented by the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Inc. (MIAPBC), 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.  For information visit

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