The organiser of the 2018 Refit International Exhibition & Conference in Ft Lauderdale, Florida has reported a 28% increase in attendance levels over the 2017 event. The Refit Show, which is owned and managed by Professional Boatbuilder magazine in the US, ran from January 10-11 at the Broward County Convention Center.
An expanded exhibit hall and conference program, daily networking events, and live demonstrations is said to have attracted a sizable crowd of refit-industry professionals.
Boat repairers and builders accounted for 21% of attendees, followed by captains and crew at 19%, and refit service providers at 15%. Seminar attendance tripled.
“We've had extremely positive feedback about the 2018 Refit Show from our exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees,” says show director Jim Miller. “The high quality of our attendees was a direct reflection of the value they found in our seminars and special events. We're already looking for new ways to add even more value to our 2019 Refit Show to continue the event's steady growth.”
Seminar attendees were able to earn professional certifications from either American Boat Builders & Repairers Association (ABBRA) or Bluewater Crew Training. Industry publication The Triton hosted two special events, a Yacht Owners Panel and a Captains' Roundtable, while the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) hosted a workforce development event and a workshop on Ft Lauderdale's Foreign Trade Zones.
Exhibitors also presented live demonstrations in the middle of the exhibit hall, and networking events took place daily.
Next year's Refit Show is scheduled to take place at the same venue from April 10-11, 2019. The April dates will coincide with the traditional yacht circuit that moves from the Caribbean to Florida in early spring, allowing more captains and crew to attend the Refit Show conveniently.