One year ago, the annual event that makes possible four days of activities and exhibitions of the best yachts models and accessories along the expansive beautiful West Palm Beach waterfront came to a halt, as much of our lives did due to the novel coronavirus spreading throughout the world.
But 2021 restored hope to thousands of boat aficionados as the 35th Palm Beach International Boat Show was a successful event.
The show made a splash with a memorable in-person return to our city, the third and most successful boat show hosted by Informa Markets in the last five months.
Informa Markets—organizer of the Palm Beach International Boat Show—worked closely with the City of West Palm Beach to enhance safety measures and updated the layout of the show to make the event entirely open-air. With four entrances and exits to ease the flow of pedestrian traffic and promote social distancing and attendees required to wear masks, the 35th PBIBS started to take place on Thursday, March 25 with excellent weather conditions.
The new format was a much enjoyable experience for all attendees who rushed to be part of a huge display of over $1.2 billion worth of yachts and accessories, including hundreds of boats ranging from 8-foot inflatables to superyachts nearly 300 feet in length. The fun also featured an upfront experience with a variety of water sports and innovative products at the AquaZone, and a Windward Club with the luxuries of a premium open bar, gourmet hors d’oeuvres, happy hours, and exclusive events in a unique indoor and outdoor lounge setting.
Other attractions included live music and refreshments at the show’s famous floating cocktail lounges. Guest who owned boats had a chance to come by boat and tie it up to free docks located south of the in-water boat displays.
From the world debut of luxury yachts to family-friendly programming, the marquee show – which attracted thousands of visitors and legacy exhibitors.
And of course, boats were the main attraction.
The show this year was an excellent opportunity to see a lot of them all in one place with a lineup of new boats that debuted this year. Many of the exhibitors had a good understanding of pricing and values and had access to a worldwide network of boats that may not even be for sale.
The number of exhibiting boats on display was actually large—though due to the pandemic on a relatively smaller scale than previous years. Many of them in series that replaces the previous generation and incredible boats that feature an all-new running surface, and entire hulls—now vacuum-bag resin-infused—that bring more strength and more rigidity to sports boats. On exhibit were quality boats spotting new exterior fabrics and finishes with exciting new seating arrangements, triple Yamaha F300 engines that give the power most buyers were looking for, and cabins that featured stylish hull-side windows, stainless-steel refrigerator, and electrically actuated convertible berth and dinette.
There was also a large selection of cruisers, mega yachts, and motor yachts on display. Nothing ordinary about these magnificent boats that combine exclusive style with the pleasure and comfort of an array of ingenious onboard features. Megayachts that have been maintained meticulously by professional crews, raised Pilot House models designed for efficient use of space, and with ample room for conversing and relaxation. Also on view, stunning yachts built to completely customized specifications, from the placement of the built-in furniture to the hand-selected marble throughout the vessels.
And if you were just coming to get the latest boating accessories from the world’s leading marine manufacturers, you would have found anything from propellers to inboard joysticks to Side-Power Hydraulic thruster systems to wiper system solutions to engines that feature impressive acceleration as well as quiet operation and low fuel consumption.
One of the best updates to the show—following the need to comply with safety measures by federal and state institutions—was the main dining area at the Meyer Amphitheater. Having a selection of food trucks was an upgrade option for guests to satisfy their tasting buds in a safe, outdoor space.
This show has served as a critical economic boost for the City of West Palm Beach and provided a significant opportunity for local exhibitors and vendors to showcase new boating goods and services in person with visitors and maritime enthusiasts. It was a welcoming happening last March.
Perhaps Informa’s best practices gleaned from hosting the St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show and, prior to that, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show provided the PBIBS leverage for success. Early feedback points to the show generating extraordinary sales for exhibitors.
Beyond serving as a necessary economic lever that will have reverberating effects for the entire tri-county region, the show had an unprecedented turnout this year and restored our confidence on how we Floridians enjoy our state the best: out on the waters.
Editor’s note: The show returns to downtown West Palm Beach, March March 24 – 27, 2022. More info on wpbnow.com
The 35th Palm Beach International Boat Show was a successful event