Boat Show Bonanza

15 September 2009 By Janine Ketterer

We’re approaching the time of the year where every, oh, I don’t know…month, there is another big boat show or set of shows looming – although it may feel like it never really stops. As crew, you attend the shows, put on your happy face and deal with whatever comes your way. But how do you really feel about these industry staples? recently published a compilation of questions about boat shows in our poll, which met with some interesting responses. What we found surprised us and it may surprise you too.

First, crew look forward to boat shows. As much as you cringe when the captain tells you you’ll be lined up hull to hull with thousands of people perusing your perfectly polished stainless, 62 percent of crew say they look forward to shows. Twenty-eight percent of crew maintain their enjoyment depends on the show.

So, we’ve established you’re looking forward to attending, but which shows get you the most excited? Deckhand Dustin says “Fort Lauderdale, because of all of the crew parties. Everyone shows up so you get to meet up with all of your friends and hang out with them….” Forty-eight percent of the crew surveyed agreed with Dustin. Monaco came in a close second at 38 percent.

The charter shows also piqued interest with the majority of crew saying St. Maarten was their top pick at 36 percent. Antigua (26) and Genoa (20) came in second and third, respectively.

But what makes these shows so fantastic? Dayworker Alex says that his favorite part of a boat show is all of the opportunity. “Everyone is there; there are lots of job openings and a chance to see all of the boats.” Deckhand Dustin is not alone in loving the crew parties: Thirty-six percent of crew say parties and events are their favorite part of a show, but tied with parties are the 36 percent who agreed with Alex that getting a chance to check out new boats and gear is their favorite part.

Boat shows have a lot of positives, but on occasion, their reputation precedes them, and not in the best way. Mate Sally has never been to a boat show; the 2009 Fort Lauderdale show will be her first. “[My crew] keep telling me it’s going to be a lot of long days of sitting around, then hurrying to clean up.” This hurry up and wait game is always a big part of shows. The responses for worst part of a show were spread fairly evenly across too much standing around, all the prep and detail work, dealing with tourist and brokers and being too crowded.

With an event such as a boat show, you have to take the good with the bad, but do you think it’s all worth it? Alex says that boat shows are indeed a very important part of the industry. “Everyone gets together to find out what’s going on in the industry. I feel like it’s an indication of what’s going to happen in the upcoming season.” The majority of crew agree, 42 percent feel that boat shows are indeed important to help book charters and get boats sold. Only six percent of crew disagreed, with the belief that shows are a waste of time and money.

With all of the goings on at a show, do you get stressed out? Thirty-two percent of crew say it really just depends on the show.