Framed by a picture-perfect weekend, the show drew impressive crowds, especially on opening day, with overall attendance for the four days up five percent over 2015. The total number of boats on display in-water and on land saw an increase of 18 percent, made up entirely of new boats. On land exhibit space increased by nine percent.
“It was an excellent show that attracted high-quality traffic on Thursday and Friday, and then Saturday was a very busy day for us,” said Mark LaPrade, president of International Marine Group, whose display included boats from 22-feet to 45-feet from brands including Formula, Stamas, Century, Blackjack and Concept. International Marine Group has been an exhibitor in the show since 1984. “We wrote six contracts at the show and have multiple sea trials scheduled in the coming week,” said LaPrade.
The 39th annual St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show included hundreds of top-name powerboats, sailboats, the latest in marine electronics and accessories, as well as special events and educational activities for all ages, interests and experience levels. Drawing much fanfare this year was the ICON A5 light sport amphibian aircraft.
“We’re seeing the St. Pete boat show get better, year over year, with attendees making buying decisions at the show,” said Chris Erickson of Erickson Marine, which had six boats on display from Contender and Nor-Tech, from 25 feet to 39 feet. “We took a deposit on a 39 NorTech on Saturday from a buyer who attended on Thursday and came back, and have good leads on all the boats we had on display. Saturday and Sunday were busy and we met with many people who are looking to buy very soon.”
Beyond the main boating attractions, the show offered daily seminars, sailing clinics and entertainment, including children’s fishing clinics by Hook The Future, Sail America’s Discover Sailing Series and Cruising Seminars sponsored by Cruising Outpost and Harken.
“This show has transformed from a small boat show into a regional boating lifestyle event that’s now attracting many different types of boaters and like-minded enthusiasts,” said Dane Graziano, senior vice president and COO of Show Management, the company that owns and produces the show. “Many exhibitors continue to expand their presence to attract more and more buyers who are back on the docks ready to deal. This show has become a must-attend event for most Gulf Coast-based boating businesses.”
The 39th annual St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show was sponsored by Budweiser, Gosling’s, Discover Sailing, Sail America, SAIL magazine and Hook The Future.