Registered: January 2007
|The Palm Beach International Boat Show is officially 25 years old!
The first-ever Palm Beach International Boat Show was held March 12 – 17, 1982 at Soverel Marine Harbor in Palm Beach Gardens. 28 years later (less three years without shows) makes this year the Show's silver anniversary.
In 1982, a permanent artificial heart was implanted in a human for first time. The space shuttle Columbia made its first mission. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) diagnostic machines were introduced. Michael Jackson released Thriller. John Belushi died of a drug overdose. Cats opened on Broadway. The Equal Rights Amendment failed ratification. The cost of a first-class postage stamp was 20 cents. And the Palm Beach Boat Show was born.
In 1982, boats didn't go nearly as fast as they do today, and only about one-third of today's builders were even around. Fiberglass had only recently been explored as a viable construction material. Among the largest vessels on display at the Palm Beach International Boat Show was a 63' Hatteras, with a price tag near $1 million.
In 1982, an 85-footer was considered a very large yacht. In fact, one of the people instrumental in getting the Palm Beach International Boat Show on the map -- Jim Bronstien, a well respected South Florida marine industry veteran, founding member and past President of the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Inc. and one who has worn a variety of exhibitor hats at the Show representing the services of Rybovich, Broward Marine and Costa Rica's Marina Pez Vela -- can attest to that fact personally. “In the mid-eighties our family had an 85' Trumpy that was ranked by Power & Motoryacht magazine as the 47th largest boat in the country,” he chuckled, adding that “today, the 47th largest boat is more than twice that size at one hundred and 85 feet!”
The world for marine business owners was one where their work was considered more of a ‘hobby business,' rather than being part of a real industry. Thus, it's only fitting that the first-ever official boat show was a straightforward attempt by a small group of hungry boat dealers to show their product to fellow hobbyists with minimal fanfare. “It was not much of a show,” Bronstien said, “it was a homegrown affair.”
The same group of determined boat dealers eventually succeeded in creating an annual event out of nothing, as will be evidenced along West Palm Beach's picturesque Flagler Drive this month.