By Evelyn Ticona
A four-day marine extravaganza filled with boats, marine products and accessories, the 25th annual Palm Beach International Boat Show took place at the West Palm Beach waterfront from March 25 to 28.
Presented by Merdeces-Benz USA and Palm Harbor Marina, it primarily targeted people considering buying a boat or marine equipment.
“It is a buyers’ market offering highly unusual opportunities for great values,” said Show Management President Efrem Zimbalist III.
The show had 434 exhibitors displaying boats and yachts with prices varying from $10,000 for the cheapest to $14 million for the most expensive.
Though it can be hard to believe that this business has survived the tough economy, many people in the business had to strategize to survive the market crunch.
“We had to change our marketing strategy,” said Greg Terraglio, president of Sovereign Marine Group. “When the dollar was weakening and the euro was straightening we started advertising a lot in Europe.”
Terraglio said that approximately seven out of ten boats sold at the time were shipped overseas.
Sovereign Marine Group tracks its sales monthly and is seeing more Americans starting to buy boats again.
“That needed to happen,” Terraglio said, adding that his company has attended the Palm Beach International Boat Show for at least 14 years.
“This is a great local show,” he said. “It’s not like an international boat show like in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, so there’s not a bunch of foreigners. It’s mostly local people.”
Terraglio said this is his favorite boat show because it is small and he gets to interact more with his potential customers. As Terraglio walked along the docks, many people greeted him by first name and stopped for a few minutes to discuss the success of the show.
“With this economy any way to find business is needed and a good thing,” Terraglio said.
“We started buying and selling inexpensive diesel boats, like $100,100 or $150,000 boats, and we’ve done a tremendous job with them,” Terraglio said.
All boats run on diesel because it is more convenient, diesel engines last a lot longer and they get much better fuel economy.
Sovereign Marine Group had two boats on display, one for $114,000 and the other for $209,000.
“It’s a great family audience,” he said. “You can bring your wife, daughters, friends. It’s awesome!”
The show also had vendors selling furniture, marine equipment, inflatables and everything needed to decorate a boat.