Temperatures are leveling off. The sun is shining more and more every day. Flowers are in bloom. Let’s face it, spring has sprung.
That means boating season is here.
Next week, along picturesque Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach, South Florida’s final event of unofficial “boat show season” will take place with the 34th annual Palm Beach International Boat Show.
Over $1.2 billion worth of yachts, boats of all classes and sizes, marine equipment and accessories, gear, clothing, services and much more will be on display from dozens of exhibitors. Boats from small inflatables up to superyachts 300 feet in length will be on hand. Along with the large selection of boats and exhibits, the show offers fun and educational activities, including free youth fishing clinics by Hook The Future and IGFA School of Sportfishing seminars, plus demonstrations of a wide variety of watersports equipment at The AquaZone. The AquaZone is a 40,000-gallon fresh water pool and adjacent area close to the Intracoastal Waterway.
â€śThe Palm Beach Boat Show is in a beautiful setting in a world-famous destination at the most beautiful time of year and that distinguishes the show from all others,â€ť said Andrew Doole, president of Informa U.S. Boat Shows, the showâ€™s producer. â€śAs the last major boat show of the season, this is a favorite event for both boating enthusiasts and marine businesses worldwide.â€ť
Chris Frambes, a broker with SunDance Marine USA, a dealer with five locations between Jensen Beach and Miami, said the dealership has moved in 28 boats for next weekend’s event.
“We love the Palm Beach Boat Show,” Frambes said. “What has happened with Fort Lauderdale, it has grown so big in a confined space that we can’t expand our display space even if we want to. Stuart in January is good, but there is always a spending hangover because it is so close to Christmas. Miami is tricky to get in and out of and the locals aren’t there. Palm Beach gives us the best of everything.”
Frambes said people come to the show and then have dinner afterwards downtown or at CityPlace.
Frambes said there are many roads leading to the show across town and much better parking in downtown garages and lots than many of the other shows. It is only an hour from Miami and the Treasure Coast so it draws buyers from a wide boating-happy area of Florida.
Frambes said for the past year, the market for buying a new boat has been strong.
“Anything with an outboard is selling,” he said. “The fishing stuff is always selling. But what we’ve seen is other models we carry with outboards are also selling strong right now.”
Sundance Marine carries Everglades, Sea Fox, Ranger Boats’ saltwater line, plus Regal and Cobalt. Recently, to showcase its performance, Frambes used an Everglades demo to carry YouTube fishing personality BlacktipH, Josh Jorgensen, and former pro golfer Greg Norman to a Goliath grouper and shark fishing trip off Jupiter.
“We’ve increased our coverage for this year’s show,” Frambes said. “Regal’s new 38 XO has two state rooms and is an express cabin cruiser outfitted with triple 300 horsepower motors. It debuted last month at the Miami Boat Show and it has exceeded our expectations. It can easily be taken to the islands but offers the reliability of outboards.”
The International Game Fish Association is hosting itsÂ highly-acclaimed School of Sportfishing seminars onsite during the Palm Beach Boat Show. Featuring instruction by some of the best captains and anglers in South Florida, the seminars share the skills, information and techniques necessary for avid anglers to maximize success on the water. Reservations are not required and participation is free with show admission. To view the seminar schedule, go to PBboatshow.com and click on â€śSeminars & Classesâ€ť under the â€śAttendâ€ť menu.
Junior anglers ages four to 16 will enjoy the Kidsâ€™ Fishing Clinics presented by Hook the Future. The clinicsÂ will offerÂ interactive instruction in selecting tackle and lures, casting a rod and reel, reeling in a fish and fishing ethics. Upon completion of all learning stations, participants are eligible to win special prizes. Capt. Don Dingman hosts theÂ clinics in the Meyer Amphitheater on March 30 and March 31 at noon and 2 p.m. Reservations are not required and participation is free with show admission.
Dates: March 28-31
Hours:Â Thurs. Noon to 7 p.m.; March 29-30 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; March 31 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location:Â In water and on land along Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach.Â Â
Admission:Â Adult (16 and over) $28; Adult (Two-day ticket) $52; Children (6-15) $18; Children under 6 free.
Parking:Â Throughout downtown West Palm Beach at parking garages and lots.
Vero Beach Boat Show: April 6-7 at Riverside Park in Vero Beach. Information:Â http://www.verobeachboatshow.com/