St. Petersburg, Fla. – The St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show, the largest boat show on the Gulf Coast and now in its 33rd year, got positive reviews from exhibitors and presenters as larger crowds of interested buyers than in recent years came to the show, eager to see the latest designs and technology from the world’s leading marine manufacturers. The St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show took place from Dec. 2 through Dec. 5 at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Featuring an impressive selection of power boats, sailboats, marine gear and seminars in a new, significantly larger waterfront area and huge on-land display areas, the show was a success on many levels.
“The number of boats in the show was up over 8 percent,” said Show Management CEO Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III. “The exhibitors who have survived the past years’ slowdown are strong and focused on product that sells.”
“We came away from the show with ten to12 serious leads, said Robb Young, president of Inglis, Fla.-based Young Boats. “We have been coming to the show for the past nine years and this year’s Saturday attendance was as good as all past years.”
“Attendance has been the best yet,” said show veteran Jim Leet of Marine Concepts Sailboats, based in Tarpon Springs, Fla.
Unlike other boat shows which emphasize either power or sail boats, the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show is a combination of both, drawing a wide spectrum of boaters at a range of price points. “The combined power and sail boat aspect of the show helps our company greatly,” said Bill Wright, co-owner of JSI, a one stop shop for boating accessories in St. Petersburg.
The presentation of boats and marine products included well-known models as well as new and innovative products. Wayne Floe, CEO of McGregor, Minn.-based Floe Craft exhibited at the show to weigh public opinion on a new prototype, the ACE34. “The attendance and interest in our product on the first day alone was enough to make exhibiting at the show worth it,” said Floe. “The quality of the prospective buyers was excellent and attendees said they have never seen a product like this before.”
Show-goers perused hundreds of power boats and sailboats anchored in the man-made marina, enjoyed educational activities presented by Sail America, The Blue Wild Dive and Travel Show and youth fishing clinics presented by the non-profit, Hook The Future. Refreshments and live musical entertainment flowed each day. “Attendance at the seminars was very good,” said Sheri Daye of The Blue Wild Dive and Travel Show. “Many presentations led to bookings for our instructors.”
Many in the marine business are cautiously optimistic that the success of the St. Petersburg show signals the recovery of the marine industry after three years of lagging sales. “This year’s show was a testament to the economy making a turn in a positive direction,” said Shane Faunce, yacht broker with Anna Maria, Fla.-based Galati Yacht Sales.
Brett McGill, regional president for Clearwater-based MarineMax agreed, saying, “Yacht owners are looking to upgrade after waiting a few years, finally looking for new product and technology.”
About the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show:
The St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show is managed and produced by Show Management, endorsed by Sail America and sponsored by Aqualuma, Budweiser, Hook the Future and The Blue Wild Dive and Travel Show. For more information, visit ShowManagement.com.