Palm Beach International Boat Show provides a different vibe
By Martin Lenkowsky | Photos by Forest Johnson
If you missed this season’s boat shows in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, there’s still a chance to catch one of the nation’s top shows in South Florida: The 31st-annual Palm Beach International Boat Show will be held in downtown West Palm Beach – along Flagler Drive near Clematis Street – beginning Thursday, March 17.
“It’s an outstanding location. The venue makes it really special,” says Chuck Collins, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, one of the event’s sponsors. “Everything is in one place. In Miami, the boat show is divided up into different locations. Here, you can be dining and drinking at the boat or you can walk over to Clematis – and you don’t have to battle traffic or fight for parking.”
The Palm Beach show is considered one of the top five boat shows in the country, and it will feature more than $1.2 billion worth of boats. It is considered the year’s anchor event for the Palm Beach County marine industry.
There will be more than 1,000 boats at the upcoming show, from watercraft ranging from 8-foot inflatables, power and fishing boats, center consoles, bow riders and personal watercraft to more than 150-feet-long mega-yachts.
According to Andrew Doole, SVP and COO of Show Management, which produces and manages this event, the show offers something for everyone. “You can get every marine accessory you can think of,” he says. “You get everything from someone buying a fishing rod to someone buying a 200-foot boat.”
Doole suggests people make the show a family event, because there’s something for people of all ages. “There’s a kids’ fishing clinic,” he says. “Someone teaches them all the basics of fishing.” Hands-on seminars will also be offered help educate boaters and would-be boaters.
To accommodate more big boats this year, another dock has been added at Palm Harbour Marina. Compared to the previous year, last year’s show attendance was up 17 percent. “This will have a ‘Super Bowl’ effect on the economy. With gas prices down, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to fill up your boat,” Collins says, adding, “I can’t get over how this general area appeals to everyone, from the freshwater out west by Lake Okeechobee, and east to the ocean.”
Palm Beach International
Boat Show Details
Thursday, March 17: Noon to 7 p.m.
Friday, March 18: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 19: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 20: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.