With 47 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, from deep-sea fishing in the Gulf Stream, to scuba diving in nearby reefs, to sailing the protected waters of the Intracoastal, Palm Beach County is a boater’s paradise. The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County understands how the county’s abundant marine resources and strategic location appeal to yachters around the world.
Downtown West Palm Beach is home to the Palm Beach International Boat Show. It is one of the Top 10 Boat Shows in the U.S., which takes place along Flagler Drive and the Intracoastal Waterway, showing off the area’s $30 million aqueous facelift. The update included additional green space, improved sidewalks and other infrastructure. Visitors can peruse some $350 million worth of boats, yachts and accessories from the world's leading marine manufacturers. The in-water displays make use of two of the three new docks, designed for day dockage, that were installed in the Intracoastal Waterway as part of the facelift project.
The two northernmost docks have been incorporated into the show's temporary marina, while the southernmost dock can be used by visitors who arrive by boat to see the show. The show's facilities also include a deepwater dock at the newly renovated Palm Harbor Marina on the north end of the show site, allowing larger mega-yachts to be displayed at the event.
Most of the show's larger yachts are brokerage vessels, with the biggest being the 170-foot Quantum of Solace by Benetti, displayed by International Yacht Collection.
In addition to luxury yachts, the boats on display typically include cutting-edge sportfishers, state-of-the-art speedboats, sailboats, inflatable vessels, dinghies, personal watercraft and many others.
Billed as one of the top 10 shows of its kind in the country, the event occupies a 12 1/2-acre area. .
- 2010 attendance: approximately 47,000
- Attendees visited the show from all 50 states
- On-line ticket sales allow capture of e-mail addresses for future marketing opportunities
- At the gate, drivers' licenses are scanned to collect mailing addresses and other demographic data, as well. Show Management would like to develop a VIP card where boaters will receive an e-newsletter and promotional messages throughout the year.
- 87% of the visitors came from Florida.
- Approximately 500 exhibiting companies
- 65% of exhibitors come from outside of Palm Beach County
- At least 1,400 room nights at area hotels
- 8,000 exhibitor credentials were issued
Marine services and manufacturing is one of Palm Beach County’s key industries, employing almost 20,000 workers. And with 40,000 recreational craft from mega-yachts to kayaks, boating is clearly one of the county’s most valued lifestyle amenities.
A study released by the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County shows the marine industry has an annual direct economic impact of $1.35 billion in Palm Beach County ($16.8 billion in the State of Florida).
That direct annual economic impact of $1.35 billion is based on the following information:
- $2.1 billion in gross business volume
- $751 million in personal income
- 19,928 jobs
- $78.4 million in marinas and boatyards
Marine-related business sectors include:
- Service Activities: $487.1 million
- Retail Trade: $269.0 million
- Wholesale Trade: $266.2 million
- Manufacturing: $154.8 million
- Used Boat Sales: $117.2 million
- Construction: $55.0 million
- Finance Activities: $4.1 million
- Transportation: $1.8 million
This $1.35 billion economic impact generates a total of $1.8 billion in local business volume and $682 million in personal income (wages) for 18,228 workers.
The average boater purchases $52.27 of goods and services per outing at non-marine-related establishments for consumption on the county's waterways.
The more than 40,000 registered boaters in Palm Beach County annually purchase $51.6 million in gasoline sales related to boating outings and $39.4 million in food, drinks. and ice for boating outings.
Marinas and boatyards in Palm Beach County have a combined appraised value of $78.4 million. The boat slips in Palm Beach County have a total market value of $436 million.
More than half of the economic impacts are generated by the service sector of the marine industry, including in excess of $1 billion in business sales, $369 million in personal income, and 9,885 jobs. The second largest impacts are generated by manufacturing activities, with more than $320 million in sales, $100 million in personal income, and 2,490 jobs.
In addition to the direct economic impact of the marine industry, the study also found that boaters spend approximately $52.97 per outing on non-marine-related purchases such as gas, food, drinks, and ice. These non-marine related purchases total $91 million in retail purchases ($51.6 million for gasoline sales and $39.4 million for food, drinks, and ice) and are estimated to generate economic impacts of $135 million in business volume, $34 million in personal income, and 850 jobs.
The MIAPBC is a trade organization representing more than 800 marine-related businesses in Palm Beach County.
The marine industry is also a great supporter of local marine education. The Marine Industry Education Foundationsupports the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy, for students who qualify. Riviera Beach Maritime Academy's mission is to provide a career pathway development through marine industry education and employment opportunities and to improve and expand the marine industry's labor force.
Students interested in:
- Ocean Navigation
- Environmental Issues
- Boat/Vessel Construction and Repair
- Mechanical and Electrical Systems
Receive both classroom and hands-on instruction at the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy, along with the necessary high school education in order to develop a successful career in the marine industry. Intended as a four-year program, Riviera Beach Maritime Academy provides lessons in boat building, vessel research, operational procedures, environmental stewardship, and navigating through classroom presentation, guest speakers, and field trips. After graduating, students can choose to continue their studies through VO-tech, a six-month, on the job apprentice-training program, or search for employment in the marine industry. As a supporter of the Marine Industry Education Foundation, the MIAPBCprovides work opportunities to students and graduates in order to enhance their knowledge and career in the marine industry.
Where can you get more information?
Business Development Board of Palm Beach County
310 Evernia Street, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Kelly Smallridge, President and CEO
Gary Hines, Senior Vice President, Administration
Shawn Rowan, Vice President – Business Retention and Expansion