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N.Y. Boat show offers respite from winter

More than 1,000 boats and 500 exhibitors packed New York City’s JacobK.JavitsConvention Center Dec. 31 to Jan. 8 for the 101st annual New York National Boat Show.

More than 1,000 boats and 500 exhibitors packed New York City’s JacobK.JavitsConvention Center Dec. 31 to Jan. 8 for the 101st annual New York National Boat Show. Boats on display ranged from 8-foot kayaks to what organizers called the “Queen of the Show,” the Azimut 55.

But all the new boats and boat gadgets weren’t the only things on hand — more than 74,000 people from the Tri-State area, New England, Mid-Atlantic region and all over the world attended the show.

“This year I met people from China, Croatia, Central and South America, Puerto Rico and Russia,” says show organizer Michael Duffy. “Aside from being the world’s first and longest-running boat show, it is the first show of the winter season. It serves as the bellwether for the industry.”

Mike Jones and his wife, Lori, of Bellmore, N.Y., on Long Island, were looking to buy a new 21-foot center console. “There’s plenty here to look at and consider. The selection is great,” Mike Jones says. “Coming to the New York boat show is the way to shop for a new boat.”

Of the new boats on display were the Luhrs 41 Open, Rinker’s 410 Express Cruiser, Triton’s 225 Dual Console and the Baja 35 Outlaw. A number of free seminars were also available.

“I go to the New York boat show every year,” says Lenny Steiner of West Long Branch, N.J., who owns a Formula 37PC. “It’s nice to walk onto the boats and see inside. I like checking out all the new developments in yachts, and look at the new electronics and safety features.”

One feature that attracted a number of attendees was the Boats of Bond exhibit with five boats that were featured in James Bond films. Those boats were the underwater Tow Sled from 1965’s “Thunderball,” the Bath-O-Sub from 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever,” Glastron’s Amazon Chase Boat from 1979’s “Moonraker,” the Neptune Submarine from 1981’s “For Your Eyes Only” and Q’s Jet Boat from 1999’s “The World Is Not Enough.”

“[The ‘Boats of Bond’ exhibit] was a good fit for the show because of the adventurous quality inherent in everything Bond,” says Duffy. “I felt that the exhibit would also appeal to the adventurous spirit embraced by many boaters.”

In addition to checking out the Bond boats, attendees were buying boats, too. “It was a good show for us,” says John Holmes, director of operations at Cerino’s Marine in Clinton, Conn. “The crowds were excellent and our boat sales were on point. We sold a few boats and got a couple good leads. That’s exactly what we wanted.”

But not all the exhibitors were as satisfied. “For us, I’d say the show was only fair to good,” says Paul Terzian, a partner of Causeway Marine, located in Manahawkin, N.J. “Although it seemed like attendance numbers were good, we would have liked to sell a few more boats.”

Some exhibitors attributed their lackluster sales to the scheduling of the show. “New York City is one of the biggest markets in the world, and here we are trying to sell boats during a holiday,” says Hank Hartmann, co-owner of Sandy Hook Yacht Sales in Sea Bright, N.J. “Really, it’s a double-edged sword. This show attracts people from all over New York, New Jersey and Connecticut but, except for Monday when most people had off of work, most of the show days were slow. This show already produces results, but I think they could be better if it were scheduled at a different time.”

The National Marine Manufacturers Association, which hosts the New York National Boat Show, continues to change and update the show each year. “We always seek to improve every aspect of the show for exhibitors and attendees alike — from exhibitor communications to seminars,” Duffy says. “Plans for next year include expanding ‘I Love Boating’ and the new product showcase to include more organizations, displays and products that appeal to boaters. We look forward to providing the latest in products and new boat models combined with new and interesting special features and giveaways that educate and entertain attendees while drawing them into the boating lifestyle.”