Breaking attendance records, the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show (April 20-22) and the Bay Bridge Boat Show (April 27-29) were great successes by all measures. Despite generally below average spring temperatures, all-time attendance records were set on epic back-to-back Saturdays, propelling both shows to experience impressive growth. Overall attendance grew by 4.5 percent to establish the best ever Spring Sailboat Show, and a 17.7 percent jump in attendance at the following weekend’s Bay Bridge Boat Show reflected a return to near 2007 (pre-recession) levels.
We chatted with exhibitors and show-goers alike to get their take on the this year’s show.
“Many factors contribute to this growth including the national economy, a strong regional marine economy, growth of dealer support, and overall an extra effort by all involved,” said Paul Jacobs, president of the Annapolis Boat Shows. “I am really pleased with our progress. This year we saw much greater participation by local dealers and it’s clear to me that all of us are committing additional resources designed to grow our industry. It certainly bodes well for the future,” Jacobs added.
“Not only are the audience sizes changing, but so is the demographic, as evidenced by the number of younger people, families, and diversity at the shows,” Jacobs added.
Held in Stevensville, Maryland at the Bay Bridge Marina, the Bay Bridge Boat Show featured more than 400 powerboats and was the largest spring boat show north of Florida. Buyers came out in large numbers, and exhibitors reported the sale of many boats as well as qualified leads to follow up in the weeks to follow.
Virtually any boat style in a size range of eight to 70 feet was available including hundreds of center consoles, express cruisers, wake and ski boats, and pontoon boats. There were lots of small car-top boats like kayaks, SUPs, inflatables, small engines, and paddle sport platforms of all kinds. At the other end of the spectrum, the entire range of trawlers, spectacular blue water cruisers, and offshore fishing yachts were also exhibited in large numbers.
Team PropTalk/FishTalk had a blast walking the show, chatting with readers, and getting out on the water at the PropTalk Demo Dock overlooking the Bay Bridge. One of our demo experiences included trying out the new Seakeeper 2 on a Contender 31-check our experience in the video below.
To check out another recent video from our team’s Ebb Tide charter fishing day, click to Trolling for Trophies.