Attendance jumped by 28% at the third-annual Refit International Exhibition & Conference, which took place January 10 -11, 2018, at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. An expanded exhibition hall and conference program, daily networking events, and live demonstrations attracted the sizeable crowd of refit-industry professionals.
Boat repairers and builders constituted 21% of attendees, followed by captains and crew at 19%, and refit service providers at 15%. This demographic outcome is consistent with the Refit Show organisers' goal of connecting a range of specialists working in the refit-industry.
Seminar attendance tripled. 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. Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) hosted a workforce development event and a workshop on Ft. Lauderdale's Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs). Exhibitors presented live demonstrations in the middle of the exhibit hall. Networking events took place daily.
'We've had extremely positive feedback about the 2018 Refit Show from our exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees,' said Jim Miller, Refit Show director. '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.'
Next year's Refit Show will take place April 10-11, 2019, at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. 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.
The 2018 Refit Show's sponsors included Alexseal Yacht Coatings, Derecktor Shipyards, Horizon Naval Architects, Front Street Shipyard, Newport Shipyard, and Steyr Motors.
Sponsorship and exhibit sales for the 2019 Refit Show will begin in February 2018. Event organizers will begin seeking 2019 seminar topics this spring.