Stuart Boat Show was one of the "best ever"

The 2017 edition of the Stuart Boat Show will be remembered as one of the strongest in recent years.

The weather could not have been better. There was a strong field of exhibitors. New products and the inventory of boats were near an all-time high. And the crowds responded by filling the show site along Dixie Highway and on the floating docks connecting three Stuart marinas all three days.

While no official gate numbers could be obtained by Treasure Coast Newspapers Tuesday from the company which produces the show, AllSports Productions, many who worked the show said they saw more traffic from boat show visitors than in the past five years.

The resulting mix left nearly everyone involved with a good feeling about where the boating business is on the Treasure Coast and about the spring ahead.

“The 2017 Stuart Boat Show was one of our best ever,” said Michelle Miller, director of operations for the Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast, owners of the show. “The weather was fantastic and the vendors were pleased with the volume of show attendees. Word is several boats were sold and there are plenty of leads to follow up on.”

Some buyers didn’t wait to pull the trigger on deals, either. By the close of business Friday, one broker reported the sale of an 80-foot yacht and a 35-footer, as well. Other dealers also had good traffic through expanded displays.

“We had great traffic through our land and in-water displays,” said MarineMax of Stuart sales consultant George Smith. Smith said the dealer, which carries well-known brands such as Boston Whaler, Sea Ray and Hatteras, brought 24 boats to the show this year.

Brian Cunningham of Vero Marine Center said the show was a good indicator of how sales in the boating industry are going.

“It’s been a good season for sales,” Cunningham said. “The Stuart Boat Show is important for us because of its geographical location. I’m sure the gate numbers will show it was very well attended.”

Monty Peters, with Billfish Boatworks in Fort Pierce — a small custom boat builder — said during the course of the show, he took 26 prospective customers on sea trials aboard the Billfish 24 Bay Boat. He said they received no deposits to begin new boat build projects, but he would be surprised if some of the leads they received did not turn into a sale.

This was the 12th year the Stuart Boat Show was staged on Dixie Highway and in-water at Allied Marine, Apex Marina and HMY’s Waterway Marina. There were more than 150 exhibitors and over $150 million in inventory at the show.

The 44th annual Stuart Boat Show is scheduled for Jan. 12-14, 2018.

For more information, go to www.stuartboatshow.com.

What’s Next

2017 Miami Boat Show: Feb. 16-20

2017 Palm Beach Boat Show: March 23-26

2017 Vero Beach Spring Boat Show: April 8-9

2017 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show: Nov. 3-7

2017 Vero Beach Fall Boat Show: Nov. 18-19 

2018 Stuart Boat Show: Jan. 12-14


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