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Boston boat show vs. Boston Red Sox

Despite a baseball-game-induced drop in attendance, organizers say the show was a success

Despite a baseball-game-induced drop in attendance, organizers say the show was a success

The people who put on the seventh annual Boston International In-Water Boat Show estimate that between 11,000 and 12,000 people turned out for the four-day (Sept. 29 - Oct. 2) event, which brought some 550 boats and more than 500 marine industry exhibitors to the World Trade Center on Boston Harbor.

“Without a doubt it was a successful show,” says Massachusetts Marine Trades Association president Greg Glavin. The association sponsored the show. “Everyone I spoke with said they were happy and that they had a great time. The venders had good inquiries. Attendance was down in comparison to previous years but, overall, good quality people showed up.”

Warren Kelley, president of Vernon Productions, which produced the show, attributes the drop-off in attendance to the Boston Red Sox playing the last couple regular season games at home.

“It was the Red Sox versus the Yankees at Fenway Park over the weekend, and the Sox were playing for a playoff spot,” Kelley says. “With Boston being the sports town that it is, one can understand why attendance was down a little bit.” Kelley also noted that high winds forced the docks to close at 2 p.m. on the show’s opening day.

Despite the lower turnout, exhibitors say they had a successful show.

“It was a great show for us,” says Michael Myers, owner of Boston Yacht Sales. “We had four boats on display, from a 26-foot Back Cove to a 60-foot Hatteras. We walked out of the show with three contracts and deposits.”

Dan Lemieux, president of East Coast Flightcraft, a powerboat dealer in Middleton, Mass., says they made 24 sales over the four days. East Coast sells Malibu, Cobalt, Fountain boats and MerCruiser, Indmar, PCM, Volvo and Yamaha engines

The show featured 300 sail and powerboats from 14 to 65 feet on display in the water and 250 on land, Kelley says. Indoor exhibitors from across New England and beyond sold marine hardware, engines and accessories.

Attendees visited daily seminars conducted by experts on navigation, sailing and electronics. Children under 12 were admitted for free and given complimentary PFDs for walking the docks. The show also featured the “Boat Buyers Bonanza” program that annually offers consumers up to $12,500 in discounts and/or products as incentive to buy a new or used boat.