We’re going to need a bigger boat (PHOTOS)

The 45th annual St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show will take place at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater—Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park from Jan. 19 to 22.

After merging with the Tampa Boat Show in 2022, the event returns to downtown St. Petersburg with a comprehensive display of vessels from fishing boats and luxury yachts to sailboats as well as a 40,000-square-foot tent with an array of marine gear. 

Attendees can get excited about the largest boat show, to date, on the Gulf Coast as more inventory is returning to the market post-COVID-19 pandemic. 

“For the last year, or two, with the popularity of boating during the pandemic, our exhibitors brought fewer boats because they didn’t have any inventory to show,” says Dean Fillichio, director of sales. “As soon as they got boats on the lot, the boats were selling. Now, the trend has slowed down a bit, so we should see more boats at the show this year than in the previous years.”

The show organizers have shipped in more docks, and built the biggest water marina, for this year’s event to accommodate 30% more inventory and entice serious boat shoppers in the market enhancing the show experience for attendees. 

Florida boat enthusiasts, and those in the market for a boat, can expect to see new dealers, and new representatives, representing manufacturers at the show such as Tom George Yacht Group, with a boat lineup that includes Edgewater, Cobalt, Invincible and Everglades. 

The pandemic changed the trends in the boating industry. As people stayed indoors, and socially distanced, friends and family could enjoy a day on the boat as a form of outdoor entertainment. For a family, a boat became an investment into a lifestyle that included fun, safety and an ability to explore the outdoors while enjoying the Florida sunshine. 

Fillichio says, “We live in Florida, there are a lot of times, on the weekend, people get in their car, they drive over to Naples from Tampa or to a different city in Florida. They get a hotel, live life and enjoy a different city for the weekend. During the pandemic, all these hotels, restaurants and bars were shut down but if you had a yacht, or a boat, that was big enough, with a stateroom, you could have a place to stay while traveling and enjoying a new city.” 

As the trends in the industry changed, the St. Petersburg Powerboat & Sailboat Show remains a family-friendly event that offers every marine gear amenity a boat lover could want. After the merger with the Tampa Boat Show, show organizers moved the St. Pete Boat Show to January, which increased attendance, and sales, after the holidays were over. 

“I’m excited for the show this year. In the last year, we have seen more inventory come back to the market,” Fillichio says. “Moreover, after merging the two shows, we’ve started to see new dealers and every time we have a new dealer come to the show, they bring new products that we didn’t have at the show previously.” 

The show organizers show the bigger boats in the water and put the smaller boats on land; for display. This year, Fillichio noted that the show floor is completely sold out on land from the front entrance all the way down to the east end of the show. So, whether an attendee is in the market for a small kayak, a jet ski or all the way up to an 80-foot” motor yacht, the St. Pete Boat Show has every range of boat on display including sailboats.  

In fact, this year’s show has 50% more sailboat inventory as the last two years have shown a big upward trend in the demand for sailboat exhibitors. 

This year, the 45th annual St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show promises to make the biggest splash, to date, with an impressive lineup of inventory to mark the largest boat show on the Gulf Coast. The show will support the Hurricane Ian Marine Industry Relief Fund with 100% of donations collected from tickets to help individuals working in the marine trades on Southwest Florida Waters recover from the impact of Ian, this past fall. 

Those lucky enough to call Florida home, and own a boat, can appreciate the many benefits a boating lifestyle has to offer family and friends enjoying fun in the sun. Every year, the St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show delivers an extraordinary entertainment and educational experience for boat enthusiasts of any age with new products and marine gear for a range of boats and sailboats in downtown St. Petersburg. 

For more info and to find tickets, www.stpeteboatshow.com.  

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