The Triton


From the Bridge: Boat shows give captains chance to see, fix things


With the world’s largest boat show set to kick off this month in Ft. Lauderdale, we asked eight captains gathered for our monthly Bridge luncheon what they think of boat shows. The answers surprised us.

As always, individual comments are not attributed to any one person so as to encourage frank and open discussion. The attending captains are identified in an accompanying photograph.

This month’s Bridge captains have a big-picture perspective of boat shows. Sure, they are a pain to prepare for, and yes, sometimes brokers can be unreasonable. But overall, the shows do an important thing, and that is to keep people interested in boating.

Captains at The Triton’s From the Bridge discussion this month were, from left, Herbert Magney, Warren Koehler, Dale Smith, Philip Hodshon, Gunnar Watson, Bernard Charon, Rick Lenardson and Pete Gannon. Photo by Lucy Reed

“It shows by how many people go there how well they do,” a captain said. “A lot of people are just looking, and that’s normal, but maybe some of those people are buying smaller boats, and those smaller boats lead to bigger boats, which lead to yachts sooner or later.”

And not all those folks strolling the docks are buying their first boats. Multimillion-dollar yacht buyers also take in the shows. 

“They might not buy at the boat show, but they definitely go to look and get ideas,” a captain said. 

“My boss saw our boat at a show and bought it six months later,” another said.

“I’ve been to three Ft. Lauderdale shows and two Miami shows in the past five years,” one captain said. “I enjoy doing them, though my crew don’t. It is a bit of a dog-and-pony show. My only gripe is when the broker gets lazy and doesn’t pre-qualify people.”

Most captains agreed with that, and added one other complaint: the unescorted guest.

“What you can do is say before the show that you want people escorted on board,” a captain said. “I’ve had people lie on the beds, go through the drawers, use the heads. …”

“I’ve had someone steal something out of the closet.”

“… You want someone there to say, ‘you can’t do that’.”

The shows are valuable if for no other reason than to give out-of-the-area brokers a chance to see the yachts. While putting a megayacht in a show is expensive – easily tens of thousands of dollars – it is cheaper than doing familiarization trips or taking the yacht across an ocean.

“To get the number of brokers to see it as you would at a boat show, you’d have to do 20 [fam] trips,” one captain said.

“European brokers put their clients from Europe on these boats in winter,” another said.

Perhaps the best part of boat shows, for these captains at least, is the ability to check out the latest gadgets and technology, and to trouble-shoot.

“I like to go to boat shows every two years to see what’s new,” one said. “As captains, we’re often confined to our boats. When we go on a new boat, we get new ideas on how to handle things.”

“And you can deal one-on-one with the people who are building the equipment you’re buying,” another said. 

“Every manufacturer is there,” said another. “If you’re having trouble, it’s a good place to get them, by the neck, and stand in their booth and say, ‘are you going to fix it?’ It’s a great place for problem solving, even if your boat’s not in the show.”

The captains conceded they have little pull in deciding which shows to attend. Brokers pressure owners to make those calls, depending on where the yacht is in relation to the show and how motivated the owner is to sell or charter it. 

But most of them agreed they’d be headed down island to this winter for shows in the Caribbean.

Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of The Triton. Comments on this article are welcome below.

About Lucy Chabot Reed

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher and founding editor of The Triton.

View all posts by Lucy Chabot Reed →

Related Articles

Stew prefers experience of working on yachts vs. cruise ships

Stew prefers experience of working on yachts vs. cruise ships

My first job at sea was on The Pride of Aloha cruise ship in Hawaii working for Norwegian Cruise Line America. I was worked 12 hours a day or more as a waitress without a day off for six months. The …

Motoryacht Loon arrives at Marsh Harbour after Hurricane Dorian

Motoryacht Loon arrives at Marsh Harbour after Hurricane Dorian

By Dorie Cox UPDATE: Thurs. Sept. 5Capt. Paul Clarke shared a drone photo from yesterday afternoon. The image shows M/Y Loon from high above, alone in the bright blue waters just offshore of …

FarSounder joins NOAA in seafloor mapping project

FarSounder, a U.S.-based marine electronics manufacturer specializing in underwater acoustics, has recently joined the International Hydrographic Organization’s Crowd-Sourced Bathymetry (CSB) …

MSHS wins exclusive FPT distributorship

MSHS wins exclusive FPT distributorship

FPT North America announced an exclusive partnership with marine distributor Motor-Services Hugo Stamp Inc. (MSHS), an FPT distributor since 2005. FPT awarded MSHS the North American territory, …

Captain gives all his ‘secrets’ away

Professional yacht crew can do many things. Besides crossing oceans and plotting courses without signposts, they keep a floating city operational. Being good at it takes years of experience and …

Heesen Yachts launched M/Y Monaco Wolf in March.

“The Heesen production team was on hand for the launching and it was a privilege to meet them in person," said Rupert Nelson, a director at Burgess."So often we meet the project front men and …


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.