The 56th annual Los Angeles Boat Show is just around the corner, and depending on what kind of boat you’re in the market for, the show could be extremely worthwhile. Scheduled for Feb. 9-12 at the Los Angeles Convention Center’s South Hall, organizers are expecting a stronger turnout for the show, which was brought back to February after it was moved to March in 2011.
Unfortunately, if a new high-performance boat is on your radar, your options will be fewer than usual at the Southern California Marine Association (SCMA) show, which is presented by AAA. In fact, many skeptics in that portion of the boat business are wondering if the L.A. Boat Show has run its course.
Admittedly, a handful of consistent exhibitors will be missing from the show, including Advantage Boats, Dave’s Custom Boats, Howard Boats, Nordic Boats, Teague Custom Marine and others. Still, Dave Geoffroy, executive director of SCMA, said he’s excited about what’s in store, especially when it comes to providing a fun boat-buying environment for the whole family.
“What’s great about L.A., is that in spite of some of the companies that are not going to be there, we’ve replaced them with a lot more family-style boats,” Geoffroy said. “The show will probably have about 30 percent more boats on the floor this year than last.”
For some companies, it’s not even be possible to attend the L.A. show because it conflicts with the Miami International Boat Show, which is the following week (Feb. 16-20). For others, including Nordic Boats owner Randy Davis, the costs involved to attend the show are not worth it from a sales perspective.
Longtime boat show exhibitor Bob Sepulveda, of Advantage Boats, said he’d like to see the event move to another venue rather than the convention center in downtown L.A. Sepulveda, who has been doing business at the show for 40 years, knows the economy was the main culprit in the sales drop at the show, but he believes the destination could be more welcoming.
Geoffroy is sympathetic to the depressed boating business, especially the custom powerboat market, but is quick to point out that builders such as Domn8er Powerboats, Eliminator Boats, Hallett Boats, Shockwave Custom Boats and others will be displaying new models.
“People are still excited about the show,” he said. “We’ve upped our advertising budget this year so we’re expecting the best show we’ve had in three years.”
Along with dozens of production and wakeboard/tournament-style boat builders and dealers, as well as engine companies, accessories and equipment suppliers and more, the show will include a dozen or more historic and modern race boats on display courtesy of the Southern California Speedboat Club.