was fortunate enough to exhibit at the 2014 Los Angeles Boat Show. The LA Boat show is considered the granddaddy of boat shows on the West Coast by many. I would have completely agreed with that 8-10 years ago, however, the economy has definitely taken its toll on the LA Boat show much like its taken its toll on boating in general. I will say this, the last show we attended was probably 3-4 years ago. The 2014 LA Boat Show was definitely much, much larger and better by far.
NMMA, the good people who put on the boat show, did a very good job of rounding up as many manufacturers and vendors as they possibly could. There wasn't much space left at all. NMMA also did a good job advertising the show. I heard from several non-boaters who either saw or heard about the show on TV, radio or other media. So it seemed to be well publicized in my opinion.
DCB made a noticeable presence as well as Teague and Nordic. Nordic seemed to have the most performance boats at the show. Teague had several power packages on display as well as a couple of beautiful Eliminators.
Another very noticeable difference at this show vs years past was the number of pontoon and tri-toon boats. Some of them were simply off the hook gorgeous. With power options ranging from: "I'll get there when I get there" to: "should we race that twin engine Cat or just let him be?". And talk about luxurious, some of these toons had bars that would rival some of the bars at a Vegas casino.
Aside from the toons the ski boats showed up in force. I've heard the ski boat market was probably the first segment of the boating market to regain strength in the sales department. By the show of force, options, and accessories, if the number of ski boats at this show is any indication, the ski boat market must be doing well.
I spent some time talking with several of the performance boat manufacturers, some of them stated boats were sold as a direct result of this show. Others had strong commitments from potential customers. Others seemed to have more tire kickers vs serious buyers. I would imagine this is typical for just about any show. Having exhibited in several industrial shows, my personal experience was more along the lines of "how do we keep the vendors and sellers out of our booth" LOL.
Our goal for this particular show was probably a little different than the boat manufacturers, or dealers or other vendors. Our goal was to get the word out that hotboat.com is open for business and to sign up as many boaters or people who are interested in boating as we possibly could. With that goal in mind, I believe the show was a success. Not being selfish, I truly hope the show was as successful for the people who build our boats for us, the manufacturers.
Someone asked to talk about the highs and lows of the show. I personally did not see any lows. I saw people open their booth or display at opening time each day and closing their booth/display at 6pm or 9pm every night. I also saw people working very hard to get their displays set up so the people who came to the show would have something good to look at. Were there any low points? If there were, I didn't see any. The only product that I thought was questionable was the drive/boat anchor. And I'm not slamming their product. But I personally would never use my outdrive to anchor my boat anywhere. If that ever happened, it would have been on accident and I would be kicking myself in the pants for letting it happen.
I will not get in to whose boat had this and whose boat didn't. Variety and choice is why we all like different boats and different manufacturers. So before you pass judgment about any manufacturer, I recommend you do your homework and select the boat that best fits your needs. Once you've done that, leave the others alone. You didn't pick them, so why complain.
Many people think attending a boat show is a waste of time if you're not in the market to purchase a boat or a boating accessory. I don't believe this at all. Attending a show such as the LA Boat Show gives all boaters, boating enthusiasts, etc. the opportunity to see what your favorite builder or builders are up to. Being informed about the industry and what new technology is out there can only help you. It also gives you a chance to talk to other boaters or people in the industry and to show support for the sport we all love.