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Record sales at the 60th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

A soft rain drifts across the intracoastal waterway as a symphony of boat horns sounds to end the 60th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Vendors breathe a sigh of relief as they recount the success of sales during the show.


Rainy evening at the boat show.

Boyd Tomkies, CEO of BRIG USA, has attended the show for three years. He spoke of the surprising success his company experienced at the show compared to last year.

“On a dollar value, at least double, we sold a lot more bigger boats than smaller,” Tomkies said.


Tomkies said he enjoyed the show but hopes to see improved organization next year.


“A lot of it is logistics in moving in for us, we don’t move in until the day of the show at two in the morning, so I would like to see us get in there earlier,” Tomkies said. “I think it’s a pretty well-run show, it’s just customers getting here, logistics, being on the beach and parking.”

Inside the big white tent, Delicia Pop, community outreach organizer for the conservation group 4Ocean, worked the boat show for the first time. Pop was surprised at the number of people they were able to connect with, even during the week.


“Definitely the amount of people coming through on the weekends, we were here early Wednesday and even then, it was super busy,” Pop said. “We thought we weren’t in the best area necessarily but that proved us wrong, thousands of people came up to us.”


As the rainy night officially began to come to a close, Vannessa Gilmet, a sales coordinator for Sea Ray, spoke of their success at the 2019 show compared to previous years.


“It’s been a lot busier, we’ve had a much more successful year,” Gilmet said. “It was a lot hotter than last year, but I don’t think it kept anyone away because we were up in numbers five times from last year.”


She called this year a true “buyers show,” where people came to the show not just to browse but to purchase from vendors.


Brunswick, industry giant and parent company of Sea Ray, confirmed Gilmet’s claims about the success of the show in a press release. The release cited an 80% increase in sales for Sea Ray alone.


Packing up the big white tent.

Despite the damp ending, no one left disappointed at one of the world’s most important marine industry shows. Vendors walked away with the joy of unforeseen success and hope for an even better show next year.


By Jessica Lykins

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