Strong sales expected at the Palm Beach International Boat Show – Sun

Boat manufacturers are looking forward to strong sales this year at the Palm Beach International Boat Show, a sign that the boating industry is making a comeback after weathering several rough years.

Hundreds of boats will line the streets of downtown West Palm Beach today through Sunday as a part of the 27th annual Palm Beach International Boat Show. The four-day event features more than $350 million worth of boats, from yachts to power boats and the latest marine accessories.

The event in West Palm Beach is the last major boating sales event in South Floridsa for the season — following the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which ran in October and the Miami International Boat Show in February.

This year’s event will feature more mega yachts than in years past, with 40 in-water boat slips at the Palm Harbor Marina near the north end of the show, according to Andrew Doole, senior vice president with Show Management.

“This is looking to be a very strong show,” said Dana Graziano, chief operating officer of Show Management. “Exhibitor feedback from the Yacht Brokerage Show in Miami Beach was very positive and we expect Palm Beach to follow suit.”

Boat sales overall are up 5 percent so far this year, said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. There’s also been a growing interest in bigger boats, from the 30-foot to 60-foot range, he said.

“There actually may be a shortage this year, where suppliers won’t be able to meet the demand,” Dammrich said. “Supply is low at many dealerships, which means it may take some time get the boat you ordered.”

Craig Clements, owner of Palm City Yachts in Stuart, sold about 12 boats last year, but expects to sell more this year in West Palm Beach.

“Our sales are up 50 percent from last year,” said Clements, whose company sells new and used boats from Pioneers to pontoon boats.

Clements also had several boats in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October. Although he said sales were good, the heavy rains over that weekend put a damper on the show.

“If the weather is great, we’ll have a great show,” he said.

Plantation Boat Mart in Palm Beach Gardens will have 10 boats in the show this year, ranging from 24-foot SeaHunters to 35-foot Everglades recreational boats.

“Sales have been up after the shows in Fort Lauderdale and Miami,” said Scott Warnike, product specialist with Planation Boat Mart. “There are a lot of new, exciting boats for people to see.”

With strong reported sales at Florida boat shows this year, Dammrich suggests that those looking to buy a boat do it at the show.

“If you want a boat now, buy it at the show,” he said. “With delivery, you might not get it before the end of summer otherwise.”, 954-356-4528, or Twitter: @SunBizGriffin

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Thursday: noon – 7 p.m.

Friday Saturday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Tickets: $14 at the gate or $12 online for adults

$5 at the gate or $3 online for children 6-15

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