2022 Maine Boatbuilders Show cancelled
Tuesday, June 21st 2022
A lack of available boats for sale, staffing shortages, and a “struggling economy” have prompted the organizers of the Maine Boatbuilders Show to cancel this summer’s event, which was scheduled to be held at the Portland Ship Yard/Portland Yacht Services waterfront location July 15-17.
In a press release, Joanna Sprague, who owns Portland Ship Yard/Portland Yacht Services with her husband Phin Sprague said that only half of the expected exhibitors had signed up for the show.
“A recent bout with Covid, combined with the understandable lack of enthusiasm from exhibitors, has left me without the energy to roll the boulder uphill,” Joanna Sprague wrote in the release. “PYS is understaffed and like every boat yard it would require a massive effort to find the resources to address the requirement of even attending a significant event this year, let alone run one.”
In addition, she noted, “Most manufacturers of boats are unable to have a boat available for a show. Many marine manufacturers have cut their show budgets, and marketing is done online. With only half of our expected exhibitors signed up and the pressures on our staffing, Phin and I felt we could not do a good job for anyone making an effort to come.”
The Maine Boatbuilders Show was held in March for 33 years until switching to the July dates last summer. The company had moved from its former waterfront site on Fore Street to its new location on West Commercial Street and didn’t have the indoor space to showcase boats in March. The show was held for several years offsite at the Portland Sports Complex before the Spragues changed the date to July. The show was cancelled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was held last year in July at the new Portland Yacht Services Facility on Commercial Street.
“Summer presents an opportunity for a celebration when the boats are launched, and we have a waterfront to use. Before this series of disasters, we were trying to pivot to this new date to continue the mission,” Sprague wrote. “But not this year. I need a rest; Phin and I need to regroup and reimagine what a post covid and recession celebration might look like.”
Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Magazine had also cancelled its summer Boat and Home Show earlier last spring, prompted by the lack of boats for sale. The magazine, instead, is hosting a two-day symposium and celebration of its 35th anniversary August 12-13 in Rockland.