Port of Call: The Palm Beach International Boat Show

On March 17-20, an armada of the latest and greatest in the boating world will be setting anchor along Flagler Blvd. for the thirty-first annual Palm Beach International Boat Show. From inflatable dignhies to superyachts, and just about every other seafaring vessel in between, the tranquil Intracoastal Waterway and the streets of downtown West Palm Beach will play host to more than a billion dollars in boats on display.

Palm Beach International Boat Show - boat show in downtown West Palm Beach

   Hosted by Show Management—the same group behind the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, considered one of the best boat shows in the world—PBIBS ranks as one of the top five international boat shows. Attracting the biggest names in the industry, from boat builders to boating accessories, the show acts as a stage to show off the latest designs, technological development breakthroughs and products dedicated to the boating life.

   More than 200 boat manufactures will be on hand this year, while hundreds of exhibitors—boater services, fabrication, accessories, construction material, publications, fashion and more—will dot the stretch of Flagler Avenue and the floating docks bobbing in the Intracoastal. This will amount to nearly 600 boats for perspective buyers and boater enthusiasts to drool over. To celebrate 30 years of the boating lifestyle in Palm Beach County, we’re giving a shout out to a couple local boat builders that will be on display at the Palm Beach International Boat Show. So be sure to check them out as you peruse all that floating horsepower.

  • The Palm Beach International Boat Show will March 17, 12-7 p.m.; March 18-19, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; March 20, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission costs $21 for adults, $11 for kids. For more information, click here.

New to boating, or looking for some tips on landing that next trophy fish? PBIBS’s seminar series has a myriad of courses, lectures, and demonstrations for interested parties:

Boaters can join the Powerboat School of South Florida for some hands-on experience captaining a boat. With one and three hour classes available, the courses are open to beginners to seasoned salts, with guests hopping behind the wheel of a boat for docking tips and open water techniques.

At the Meyer Amphitheatre, a series of seminars and discussions will help make for more informed boaters. Learn the intricacies of navigating tricky inlets, get some insider’s info on fishing techniques (see below for more on IGFA’s seminars), even find out the best stops on the Great Loop—there is quite possibly a lecture, class, or course for all boaters making the trek.

Interested in dipping a two into some watersports? Head to the Aquazone, where guests can check out demos on paddleboarding, SUP yoga, kayaking, and more.

For the fishermen and women: The International Game Fish Association’s School of Sportfishing will host 14 seminars this year at the Meyer Amphitheatre Field—Booth 746A. Led by some of South Florida’s most notable captains, guests can bone up on offshore trolling, sword fishing techniques, how to rule inshore, the ins and outs of destination fishing and much more. Seminars are scheduled from Thursday, March 17 through Sunday, March 20.

For those just starting out, there will be free Kids’ Fishing Clinics on Saturday and Sunday at 12 and 2 p.m. Presented by Hook the Future, and open to kids, ages 4-16, the class will teach fishing basics with interactive learning stations, including: casting a rod and reel; how to fight a fish; selecting tackle and lures; and fishing ethics. Located in the Meyer Amphitheatre field, the fishing clinic is free.

  • For a complete look at the Palm Beach International Boat Show seminars, click here.


Ferretti Group | Ramp 5, Slip 501-509

Riva Florida - Ferretti Group - Palm Beach International Boat Show

If yacht is part of your everyday vocabulary, than a trek down ramp five should top your PBIBS agenda. From slips 501 through 509, luxury boat and yacht manufacturer, Ferretti Group, will have seven ships tethered to the makeshift marina, all ranging in size and style. From the sporty 27-foot Riva Iseo runabout to the 70-foot Ferretti 700 yacht, the boating possibilities are endless. The most awe-inspiring of the seven has to be the biggest of the lot, the 88-foot Riva Florida. Dubbed an “open yacht and a coupé,” the Riva Florida comes equipped with an innovative piece of technology called “Convertible Top,” making this the first convertible luxury motor yacht on the market. At 88 feet and a 20’7” beam, the three-level yacht (Sun, Main, and Below decks) boasts four cabins (and a crew cabin), four heads (and a crew bathroom), easily accommodating 20 people in comfort. With no design stone left unturned, the interior is nicer than most waterfront luxury condos, while the hull profile gives this yacht its unmistakable look.

Photo provided by Riva Yachts / Ferretti Group


Hacker-Craft Boat Company | Land 765

Hacker-Craft Boat Company - 25-foot Special Sport - Palm Beach International Boat Show

For the pleasure craft type of boater, there is nothing sleeker or sexier than a Hacker-Craft runabout. The epitome of style and sophistication, Hacker-Craft’s 25-foot Special Sport fitted with blue fiberglass hull contrasted by mahogany detailing borders more on work of art than day-riding cruiser. Affixed with traditional hardware, a sloped transom, and wider beam, the tender maintains the same aesthetic from its 1920s and 1930s ancestors built by John Hacker, who founded his company in 1908 and is widely considered “The Father of the Modern American Runabout.” But while the looks harken back to those heady days, the “below the water line” aspect has evolved with the technological breakthroughs and boatbuilding techniques seen throughout the company’s life, as exemplified with the 5.7 Ilmor OPS, 350-hp inboard powering the runabout. This boat is quick—quick—and nimble, giving captain the joys of the runabout look, feel, and handling, with the power of a supped-up supercar charging through the surf—for those looking to make a statement, there is nothing else like this on the water.

Hacker-Craft Boat Company - 25-foot Special Sport - detail - Palm Beach International Boat Show

Photos provided by Hacker-Craft Boat Company


Hell’s Bay Boatworks | Land 766

Marquesa technical poling skiff from Florida boatbuilder, Hell's Bay Boatworks

Hell’s Bay Boatworks’ Marquesa

Florida’s seascape is unique; it deserves a unique boat. To make the most of the skinny water where bones and permit roll, a technical poling skiff is the only way to go. Differing from your standard backcounty flats boat, technical poling skiffs are smaller, lighter, and have a lower profile making them more nimble with the pole and quieter. These boats are also pretty Spartan—there is not an overabundance to creature comforts, trolling motors, or heavy options like battery banks—allowing fishermen to float in mere inches of water, poling along the shallows with stealth and precision; the goal of these boats are getting two light-tackle fishermen in the skinniest water possible in search of a fight.

Marquesa - Technical Poling Skiff from Hell's Bay Boatworks - Palm Beach International Boat Show

   Specializing in technical poling skiffs is Titusville boat builder, Hell’s Bay Boatworks. Setting up shop on land at the PBIBS—Land 766—Hell’s Bay will be bringing their monster (relatively speaking) Marquesa. Weighing in at 18’ 1” with a 79” beam, and 695 pounds, the Marquesa squeaks in with a seven-inch draft (with engine and fuel), allowing fisherman to explore those uncharted islets and flats of the backcountry.

Hell's Bay Boatworks - Technical Poling Skiff - FLats Boat - Palm Beach International Boat Show

Photos provided by Hell’s Bay Boatworks

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