Despite heavy rains that flooded roads and high winds that toppled trees and left thousands of people without power, the 56th Vancouver International Boat Show (VIBS) wrapped up on Sunday, January 21, leaving exhibitors pleased with attendance and confident that the boating industry in British Columbia faces another strong year ahead.

Final attendance was announced at 28,739 people, coming close to matching the 30,435 attendance announced for last year’s event. It’s a remarkable result considering the show coincided with the arrival of a major Pacific storm, which saw the weather office issue multiple severe weather alerts for the Metro Vancouver area, cancelled ferry service due to severe sea conditions, and toppled power lines throughout the region.

“Despite the extreme weather warnings through the weekend, which caused considerable challenges for guests to attend, all indications over the five days suggest that a strong year lies ahead for the recreational marine industry in BC,” said show manager Eric Nicholl. “This year’s VIBS was the largest show in the event’s history, with an expanded marina display at Granville Island and the addition of an all-new Pavilion display space at BC Place. The Vancouver International Boat Show has been sold out with a waiting list for years, and the enthusiastic support for these expanded facilities is a testament to the growth of the recreational boating market in British Columbia.”

Advance ticket sales, including e-tickets purchased online, were the highest recorded in show history, up by a full 12% over the previous year.

“Despite the weather, qualified buyers are still here,” said Don Young, president of Princess Yachts dealer Freedom Marine. “Similar to last year, sales continued to be strong at both BC Place and the floating show at Granville Island.”

Brendan Keys, general manager of Port Moody, British Columbia-based Yamaha and Kingfisher dealership GA Checkpoint, described the 2018 VIBS as among the most positive shows he’s attended. “The show has exceeded our expectations once again,” said Keys. “It's been exciting to see so many new buyers starting off in 16ft and 18ft runabouts this year. It's a great start to 2018 for our industry.”

“We have seen record-breaking sales at the 2018 Vancouver International Boat Show. The public have been eager to look at what's new, and we have had several thousand people go through the Regal 42 Grand Coup alone,” said Tony Essler, general manager for Rayburns Marine/Martin Motor Sports in Kelowna. “The show is a key building block for the year, allowing us to meet new customers and setting us up for success for the rest of 2018.”

The 57th Vancouver International Boat Show will return to BC Place and Granville Island from January 16-20, 2019.