The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) saw a higher number of people who went to this year’s Progressive Insurance Tampa Boat Show in Florida.
More than 18,500 people attended the event as many owners seek to find replacements for their damaged vessels, due to Hurricane Irma. The recent storm also prompted event organizers to reschedule the show to October from the original date of September.
Trade show manager Kevin Murphy said that the higher number of attendees represented a 12% increase compared to other shows that occurred in October. Trade exhibitors also noticed that the recent show attracted “quality crowds filled with serious buyers.” One reason for some buyers’ willingness to replace their boats involves their livelihood, according to NMMA President Thom Dammrich.
Charter boat captains, in particular, have sought new vessels after Irma destroyed or sunk their old boats. Even as the storm inflicted so much damage, Dammrich said that slightly higher sales of boats in the next 12 to 18 months would be the silver lining. For the entire 2017, new boat sales are expected to rise up to 6% nationwide. As a domino effect, WALK-WINN and other businesses noted that the sales of pontoon covers and other equipment may also likely increase.
The recent storm destroyed more than 1,000 boats, which could no longer be repaired. This, therefore, has led owners to find replacements. In The Keys region, for instance, recent U.S. Coast Guard reports showed that Irma displaced more than 750 vessels.
Other boating states like Texas also suffered damages, with thousands of vessels also destroyed in Houston, according to Dammrich. However, this will provide business to boatyards over the next six months.
As boat owners begin to recover after the storm, businesses tied to the boating industry will benefit from the expected surge of inquiries and sales for new vessels and equipment.