By Jeremy Wallace, Co-Publisher
My wife and I took over the Coastal Angler Magazine Palm Beach edition in mid-March. The timing couldn’t have been better, as our second week gave us a real feel of the marine industry with the 34th Annual Palm Beach International Boat Show. The Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County (MIAPBC) really knows how to put on an event. The show for us and our kids was truly an amazing experience. We’ve had similar shows to compare to having attended the NY Boat Show in Manhattan so many times, as New Yorkers.
Our experience started with an opening night cocktail party where we met so many fellow industry partners. The next morning an opening ceremony and ribbon cutting where West Palm Beach Mayor Elect spoke about the marine industries economic importance to the area. The following days of continuous live music, refreshments, and exhibits, along with the famous floating cocktail barges were fantastic.
From the mega yachts to custom built sportfishing boats to tricked out inflatables; we couldn’t believe the diversity of brands being represented. Jeff Lichterman from Albury Brothers Boats said, “This was the best boat show of the year”.
As you walked around the tented areas, the variety of merchants selling fishing equipment, apparel, and other marine products and services was endless. You can see that this industry is full of passionate folks who love what they do.
I’d like to share some key facts that came my way about the Palm Beach Boat Show. It featured more than $1.4 billion in boats and accessories and saw a spike in attendance of more than 6.7 percent from last year.
In addition to the vast array of boats and exhibits, my family and others really appreciated how the show offered an educational angle with free youth fishing clinics by Hook the Future and IGFA School of Sportfishing seminars and Florida Fishing Academy’s Mobile Marine Lab. Also, there was a charitable mission in place in the collaboration between Bennett Auto Supply, Informa Exhibitions, and the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County. They were able to raise over $22,000 for local charities shared between Loggerhead Marine Center and Sheridan House.