Celebrating its 75th year, The Seattle Boat Show kicked off this past week with boats and vendors at both the Lumen Field Event Center and Bell Harbor Marina on Seattle’s waterfront. Despite supply chain issues, both venues were packed with boats, over 700 in all.
George Harris, President and CEO of NMTA, said, “Just as other businesses, our supply chain and the labor market are tough for everyone, including boat manufacturers and distributors and dealers. Many are sold-out through next year, with some preorders reaching into 2025.”
Harris added, “Among the silver linings of the pandemic is that people are returning to boating, plus many newcomers. Our exhibitors have worked hard with manufacturers to have boats in time for the show.”
Last year’s show was the first to be presented virtually due to social distancing requirements, but the previous in-person show in 2020 broke records. Harris clarified, “People couldn’t travel as much because of COVID, so two weeks after the ‘stay home, stay healthy’ mandate, the business took off.”
An economic impact study of the 2020 boat show revealed the show generated $247 million in sales and related occupancy of over 8000 hotel room nights. Ticket sales were from all 50 states, and 62% of show attendees came from outside King County.
When asked about the current state of the industry, Harris clarified, “Boating means something different to everyone. Seven to eight days in the summers is enough to be out on the water for some. For me, 70 to 80 days is perfect! Also, there are boat sharing groups such as the Carefree Boat Club and the Freedom Boating Club, where people pay an annual fee and have access to a variety of boats whenever they want to boat. “These clubs are really bringing people into the industry.”
The Seattle Boat Show’s final day is this Saturday. Don’t forget your vax card or proof of a negative test when you go. For more information and tickets visit www.SeattleBoatShow.com