Whether you’re in the market for a one-off superyacht, a semi-custom cruiser, a selection of tenders and toys or a special yacht charter experience, the following ten yacht events are among the best and most highly respected in the annual yachting calendar.
- Cannes Yachting Festival
Set at the heart of the French Riviera, just a short hop from Nice Airport, the Cannes Yachting Festival is a famously prestigious event. Based in the cosseting crescent of Le Vieux Port, it features around 700 boats from seven to 180 feet, including some relatively accessible platforms from the likes of Bayliner, Sea Ray, Beneteau and Jeanneau, as well as plenty of World Premier unveilings and some extremely high-end brokerage craft. With great weather, plenty of bars and restaurants, top beaches and some lovely café-lined backstreets, the Cannes Yachting Festival fully justifies a long weekend.
- Palm Beach International Boat Show
This four-day Spring event in South Florida has been running for 35 years now – and while the bigger Autumn event at Fort Lauderdale often gets the lion’s share of the limelight, the Palm Beach International Boat Show boasts some impressive figures. With boats, yachts and superyachts now ranging from eight-foot dinghies to 300-foot superyachts, visitors can expect to see more than $1.2 billion worth of equipment, alongside a famously active brokerage section and an Aqua Zone for water toy demos. Expect a slow pace, a relaxed vibe and a very indulgent VIP Experience.
- boot Düsseldorf
With no boats beyond the 100-foot mark, Dusseldorf is by no means a showcase for the really big stuff – but there are certainly plenty of exclusive semi-custom brands to see, alongside toys and tenders of every shape and size and a superyacht section with designers, project bureaus, equipment, accessories and services. More to the point, with around 2,000 exhibitors from 68 countries across 17 halls, its capacity to surprise you is something special. You could easily spend five days trawling the halls here, enjoying scores of builders you’ve never heard of, alongside some extraordinary design ideas you’d never considered. It’s not just the World’s biggest indoor show. It’s also one of the most engaging.
- Palma Superyacht Show
Held in and around the lovely marina of Moll Vell beneath Palma’s imposing cathedral, the Palma Superyacht Show is a Spring event which runs over the same five days as Boat Show Palma. It is dedicated to vessels over 24m in length, with around 80 exhibits encompassing sale and charter, as well as power and sail. The two-show concept means there are also some relatively accessible boats and equipment for those with more modest budgets, but in all cases, the classical Balearic yachting hub of Palma is a place that encourages you to linger.
- Singapore Yacht Show
Founded in 2011, the Singapore Yacht Show has grown to become Asia’s most attractive high-end yachting exhibition. Robustly backed by the Singapore Tourism Board and held at the illustrious ONE°15 Marina Club, this April event feels every bit as glamorous as Singapore itself. It continues to attract some of the world’s finest yachting and luxury brands – and not just in terms of yachts and superyachts for sale and charter, but also in terms of lifestyle, clothing and supercar brands, as well as marine accessories and services and waterfront property purveyors. It also features a “Floating Leisure Hub” with water toys, tenders and equipment, plus a Luxury Lifestyle Pavilion, a Superyacht Builder Pavilion, Art Soirées and a VIP Lounge.
- Dubai International Boat Show
Set against Dubai’s epic high-rise cityscape, close to Jumeirah Beach and just a short hop from the famous World Islands, the Dubai Boat Show is a very natural hub for high-end yachts and for the people with the wealth to buy them. All kinds of illustrious luxury boat building brands from America, the Middle East, Australasia and Europe congregate here, creating one of the world’s most cosmopolitan exhibitor lists. There are plenty of toys available for demonstration on the local waters and the opening hours (3pm until 11pm) make it one of the more sociable and vibrant shows for nightlife too.
- Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show
“Anyone can be a Thrillionaire!” screams the marketing blurb for the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show – and so it proves, courtesy of a uniquely inclusive Australian approach to all things marine. Though the figures (300 exhibitors, 500 boats and 45,000 visitors) are relatively modest, everything about this show feels right. The exhibitor list comprises everything from kayaks and fishing boats to marine tech and superyachts and it’s made to feel all the more special by the loveliness of Sanctuary Cove’s Gold Coast setting. Held in May each year and powerfully supported by Superyacht Australia, there are plenty of bars and restaurants on site to help reinforce the famous festival vibe of this memorable four-day event.
- Thailand Yacht Show and Rendezvous
It’s long been a mystery to those who have chartered in and around the waters of Phuket that the region didn’t have a yacht show to help validate its renown as a superyacht destination – but now it does. Established in 2016, the Thailand Yacht Show has grown year on year and is now held annually at the superb Royal Phuket Marina. As a key part of a political objective to make Thailand the preeminent winter destination for the world’s superyacht owners and charterers, it leans heavily on the luxury lifestyle element, attracting plenty of luxury yachting service providers as well as builders. It’s still not a large show by international standards, but it’s certainly one of the most indulgent.
- Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
Now in its 60th year, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (or FLIBS) is truly vast. It covers an area of around 3 million square feet across seven locations, showcasing more than 1,500 boats, alongside every form of upmarket indulgence you can conceive. From bespoke watches and exotic cars to artisan furniture and original art, this Autumn event has it all. In fact, with more than $4 billion worth of exhibits, an event of this scale, calibre and enduring charm adds real weight to Florida’s claim to be the “Superyacht Capital of the World”.
- Monaco Yacht Show
With its illustrious events calendar, its unstinting A-list patronage, its proximity to the French and Italian Rivieras and its extraordinary financial wealth, Monaco is a tailor-made showcase for high-end yachting. Though the harbour itself is relatively compact, Superyacht management companies make a beeline for the annual yacht show, keen to show off their most illustrious brokerage craft. According to the show organisers, the 2018 event saw 121 yachts on display, with a combined value of around €3 billion and an average length of 162 feet. Plainly then, it’s not an event with the kinds of yachts that will welcome idle visitors on board to sate their curiosity, but for the stratospheric calibre of its exhibits, it really is something special.