Seattle Boat Show organizers and exhibitors reported a strong start to the region’s premier annual boating event, with higher attendance and showgoers who were not just looking, but actually buying.
Attendance was up 23 percent over last year for the first four days of the show at Lake Union, while the indoor portion of the show at Qwest Field Event Center drew 24.5 percent more attendees than last year, including a preview VIP night held both years.
The weekend was busy at both sites, and both experienced something highly unusual: a line of people waiting to get in on Monday morning. The mood at the show is a sharp contrast from last year’s, marked by lower spending and low morale as the nation struggled through a prolonged recession. During the first three days of this year’s show, small retailers to big boat dealers noticed a more upbeat, energetic atmosphere.
“There’s definitely a different energy than there was last year,” said John Thorburn, director of communications and marketing for the Northwest Marine Trade Association. “People are excited about getting out on the water and finding their next boat or their next set of electronics.”
That excitement is reportedly translating into sales. Though dealers were characteristically reticent to talk numbers or specifics, several said they’ve sold boats during the first few days of the show, which ends on Saturday. Those included Tim Klontz at Boat Country, who would only say the company has sold several boats, including some cash sales.
“It’s been quite a bit busier than it was last year,” he said. “The buyers have been quite enthusiastic about owning boats sooner and getting out on the water quicker.”
Read the rest of the story at our boat show blog here.