Wild Excitement and Great Happiness Reigns in Seattle

Sponsors of the annual Seattle Boat Show are enjoying great happiness because attendance was up this year even though they closed the show a day early so everyone could watch the big game on TV and because, simply put, business was good throughout the show.
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SBS 8

First, everyone knows the Seattle Seahawks beat Denver in the Super Bowl February 2. Half a million people crammed city streets for the team’s victory parade. That’s the wild excitement part.

Sponsors of the annual Seattle Boat Show are enjoying great happiness because attendance was up this year even though they closed the show a day early so everyone could watch the big game on TV and because, simply put, business was good throughout the show.

When the Seahawks qualified for the Super Bowl, Boat Show sponsors – the Northwest Marine Trade Association and the Northwest Yacht Brokers Association –decided to close show doors one day early. Everyone would be thinking football, not boats.

Despite that, attendance was up 2 percent over last year when the show ran a full 10 days.

The opening weekend of the show drew 12 per cent more boating enthusiasts than a year ago, even though competing boat shows were underway in Vancouver, B.C. and San Francisco.

Families were able to climb on, and experience the Seattle offerings first hand. And many did just that.

Families were able to climb on, and experience the Seattle offerings first hand. And many did just that.

Better, perhaps, was the widespread feeling among vendors that it was a great show with strong interest in high-ticket items shown by attendees.

“It was the best Seattle Boat Show I’ve seen in six years,” said Bruce Hedrick, editor of Northwest Yachting magazine. “Consumers were upbeat, positive and enthusiastic.”

Ryan Parker of S3 Maritime, agreed: “It was the best Boat Show we’ve ever had in our seven years in business. We’ve written a lot of estimates, we’ve seen really qualified buyers and we have a lot of new clients coming out of the show.”

Fisheries Supply Co., the largest supplier of marine products in the Northwest, is at the show every year. “We saw strong demand from both our retail and wholesale customers and it gives us great confidence about 2014,” said Carl Sutter, firm president. “The average value of product we sold this year was almost 10 percent higher than at the 2013 show.”

The show operates in two venues: the floating show is at the south end of the city’s Lake Union while indoor displays are found in the convention center that is at the Century Link complex at the other end of the main business district.

Adding to the feel-good atmosphere was a report from the University of Washington Sea Grant program, which compiles sales data from the marine industry. It reported that in January new boat sales by dealers were up 50 per cent in units and 35 percent in dollar value over the same month in 2013.

Delirium? It sure sounds that way.

That was the largest increase in units since January 2010 and the highest January dollar value since 2007.

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