Originally Posted by Capt J
The show looked pretty darn busy for a Thursday when I was leaving it at 1pm.......Some empty spaces in between boats here and there, but for the most part it looked healthy.
What boat show were you at??? This was BY FAR the weakest opening day I've ever seen at Palm Beach. It was a Chamber of Commerce day with the attendance of a rained-out event. I was at the show all day yesterday. With the exception of the media and brokers, I would wager there were no more than 500 people in attendance.
The busiest boats at the show were the beer barges and there *plenty* of tables available. Did you see the food court at the amphitheater? Must have been 50-60 tables. At around 1:00, maybe 10 of them were occupied.
Very disappointing, but not surprising really... the vast majority of people in attendance aren't buying yachts, they are looking center consoles, family runabouts, etc. Has anyone looked at the prices of these boats lately? It's not fuel prices that are killing this industry, it's the price of new boats! These builders seem to think it is still 2005 when money is cheap, easy to get and homes have untapped equity.
Most of the brokerage boats, i.e., sportfish boats, express boats and medium-size motoryachts look like an absolute bargain compared to the prices of a 30' to 35' center console. Runabouts in the 22-27 foot range are going for more than an upscale luxury car.
Boating is a luxury, not a necessity, driven by disposable income. The recreational marine market has lost touch with reality.