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The 28th International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference closed its doors on Thursday, Oct. 4 with early indications

that visitor and exhibiting figures were considerably up for the three-day event.

With nearly 4,300 verified visitors – a 23 percent increase over last year – and a 10 percent increase in square footage to accommodate 14 percent more exhibiting companies totaling 700 different exhibitors, IBEX organizers report this year's event was a tremendous success

In total, 55 countries were represented at IBEX, a 10 percent increase over last year. In addition, visitors had access to 38 boats on the IBEX Docks used to display marine equipment on the water.

Four International Pavilions represented exhibitors from South Korea, Australia, France and Italy to accompany the four Specialty Pavilions: the Composite Pavilion, Marina & Yard Pavilion, Electronics Pavilion and the Compliance, Standards & Education Pavilion.

The IBEX Education Conference was well attended with a 27 percent increase in seminars sold. The Special Session: Designing for Speed had standing room only with 160 people attending the panel discussion.

The first-ever Vacuum Bag Challenge was also a popular attraction with four teams competing. Teams were required to vacuum a balloon to 15 inches of mercury without popping it in the fastest time. The winning team consisted of Patrick Dender of Accredited Marine Technologies and Adam Blankinship of Schooner Creek Boat Works with a time of 6 minutes, 22 seconds. Supplies and technical expertise were provided by PRO-VAC.

"One of the most insightful and impressive seminars I have attended at an industry-related show," said Tom Allen, Kittery Point Yacht Yard, of the seminar What Does the Future Hold? How Today's Global Trends Will Impact Your Business, presented by Bill Yeargin.

“IBEX exceeded our expectations this year,” said Tim Bock, chairman, Balmar. “We received several new business inquiries and will be chasing them down for weeks to come!”

“The energy and excitement during IBEX this year was amazing,” said Anne Dunbar, IBEX Show Director. “The positive response to all of our educational offerings, the exhibit halls were packed and people really took advantage of what IBEX does best — which is bring the newest elements of marine products and technology to our industry, in one place. The increase in visitors, exhibitors and exhibit space are all powerful indicators that the industry is as strong as ever.”

IBEX is scheduled to return to the Tampa Convention Center for the next three years, with IBEX 2019 show dates set for Oct. 1-3, 2019. For more information, visit www.ibexshow.com.

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