palm beach international boat show 2024: deals signed and clients happy with show interface
All images: Informa

Palm Beach International Boat Show 2024: "Lower footfall, better quality clients"

26 March 2024 • by Katia Damborsky

The Palm Beach International Boat Show (PBIBS) has become a firm favourite in the boat show calendar, according to sentiments from brokers and shipyards at the 2024 edition.  

Compared to other US-based boat shows, IYC's US sales and charter director Frankie Maxwell said the event had "lower foot traffic" and "higher-quality, more qualified clients" while its relaxed format, navigable size and close proximity to restaurants and venues have created a winning boat show formula.

"People came on the first day and came back with contractors the very next morning," said Maxwell, who expects to see several deals come to fruition in the days after the show. Bad weather for two days hampered the turnout, but any clients who braved the downpour were "passionate" about buying and selling, said Maxwell. 

Deals were started and finalised throughout the show

"The people that did come out were really dedicated to the cause," agreed Damen Yachting marketing manager Sarah Flavell. "And [the weather] didn’t stop clients coming out. It’s such an accessible show, we have so much direct contact with owners here."

The Damen Yachting and Amels stand welcomed prospective and existing clients on the stand throughout the event, and three new projects came close to signing during PBIBS.  For shipyards, the show is a critical middle ground between Monaco and FLIBS. "Clients turn up with their team, but not the same entourage as [they do] in Monaco. People are more relaxed, they feel like they can be themselves, they want to come directly to the show and talk it out," said Flavell. 

"We have so much direct contact with owners here"

On the yacht charter side, Fraser's Quentin Bourgeois said the show was essential for tapping the ever-growing US charter market. "It’s good to be able to show [clients] yachts doing the dual season", he said. He echoed sentiments from other exhibitors, saying the show had "good quality clients" with an "unstressed" atmosphere. "People come for the boats," he said. "Even if I didn't have central agencies, I'd come back. There is so much business around and I feel like that show is growing. People are investing time and money into this show."

The show's prominence was highlighted by big reveals from key players in the industry. Azimut took the opportunity to reveal its 44-metre flagship superyacht at a glitzy press conference complete with a light show. Damen Yachting unveiled its newest iteration of the Xplorer line with an 80-metre expedition yacht that can feature exterior design from a selection of different designers. Icon Yachts and Mulder lifted the wraps on the interiors of their respective projects: Project Mission and the eighth Mulder ThirtySix

Azimut's new model was revealed during the show

Elsewhere, Burgess used the show to reveal its Global Clean Up operation, in partnership with BOAT International. The initiative aims to encourage the industry to clear water waste in local areas across the world. Leading captains and crew magazine Dockwalk also relaunched at the show, with BOAT International and Dockwalk hosting an intimate party where guests could network and meet the editor, Holly Overton. 

BOAT International's event programme also organised another successful Owners' Club at the Ann Norton sculpture garden, with 40 owners and guests in attendance. 

More than 120 yachts were scheduled to attend the event

Andrew Doole, President of U.S. Boat Shows with Informa Markets said he was delighted with the success of the landmark event, which saw more yachts on display than ever before. "As the 2024 Palm Beach International Boat Show concludes its four-day run, we celebrate a significant milestone in the event's history," he said.

"We extend our gratitude to our partners and show owners, the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Inc. (MIAPBC), for their unwavering support. We are also grateful for the collaborative efforts of elected officials and community leaders from both Palm Beach County and the City of West Palm Beach, whose contributions were instrumental in the show's success."

Ahead of the show, BOATPro recorded more than 120 superyachts set to attend the event