Writer: Catie Schwartzman
2 min read March 2021 — The Palm Beach International Boat Show will happen in person for its 35th anniversary. After going virtual last year due to mass shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show will make its triumphant return on March 25-28, with thorough COVID-19 safety restrictions in place.
While organizers expect more of a regional audience than in years past due to restricted international travel, the Palm Beach International Boat Show will present $1.2 billion worth of yachts and accessories.
Informa Markets US Boat Shows worked in tandem with the city of West Palm Beach for its extensive COVID-19 plan for the event. Not only will all attendees be required to wear masks but the layout of the show was reformatted to be fully open air, to ease foot traffic flow and to promote social distancing. There will be hand sanitation stations throughout the area and temperatures will be taken at the show’s entrance. Informa Markets US Boat Shows will also restrict the number of people aboard a boat at a time. Informa Markets US Boat Shows President Andrew Doole said he has taken a great deal of care into meeting Informa’s AllSecure health and safety standards in addition to those of the local and national government.
“This year’s event is open-air thanks to our updated layout, and the show will be entirely ticketless,” Doole told Robb Report. “We bring experience from having successfully hosted the St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show earlier this year and, prior to that, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in the fall of 2020.”
In contrast to the 2020 show’s virtual offerings, this year’s show will bring back popular activities from shows prior to COVID-19, including the AquaZone, a water sports play experience for children, as well as children’s fishing clinics sponsored by Hook the Future. Alyssa Freeman, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, says to expect an extensively different experience from the virtual showcase.
“The virtual component was a great opportunity to do something for our exhibitors, but I think we learned that a virtual show is nowhere near an in-person show, in terms of attendees and excitement,” she said to South Florida Business Journal.
2019 attendance for the show exceeded 53,000. Freeman expects new attendees in 2021 due to the pandemic boom in boat sales. The show is already considered one of the largest draws to Downtown Palm Beach. Its offerings, from smaller inflatables to gigantic super yachts, are sure to pique the interest of a range of enthusiasts, new and old.
“I definitely think we’re going to see a lot of new people that haven’t been to the show before,” Freeman said to South Florida Business Journal. “That’s not just from all the new boat owners, but I also think there is a pent-up demand for outdoor events.”
Photo Credit: Palm Beach International Boat Show