The sixth edition of the Venezuela boat show has been postponed, Enrique Romay, partner and editor of Venezuela’s marine magazine Mundo Nautico, told IBI. The show, originally scheduled to run from March 13-17, is now set to open from April 27 to May 5.

According to Romay, the boat show organisers decided to move the event following the death of President Hugo Chavez last week.

Held at the Tamanaco shopping centre in the city of Caracas, the show is the only event for the leisure marine industry in Venezuela.

This year’s event has 25 confirmed exhibitors, including five local boatbuilders, various yacht sales companies and distributors along with equipment and marine electronics importers.

In addition, Romay told IBI that the leisure marine market in Venezuela continues to be strong. “Boat sales have remained flat the last couple of years. However, the market for used boats has increased. The economic crisis in United States and Europe has seen a rise in the number of imported, used boats at very competitive prices,” he says.

The market in Venezuela is primarily focused on fishing boats and runabouts ranging from 3m-12m (10ft-40ft). “Boat owners in Venezuela that can afford larger boats tend to keep them in private marinas in neighbouring Caribbean countries,” says Romay.

Romay told IBI that owners of larger yachts in Venezuela have tried to keep a low profile as they have been targeted by President Chavez’s social policies.

“There is the case of a yacht expropriated from Nelson Mezerhane in 2010. He was the president of a savings bank in Venezuela, and a major shareholder of Globovision, a TV channel known for its opposition to the former Chavez government. Mezerhane is wanted by the Venezuelan justice system for his alleged involvement in a fraud case,” Romay told IBI.

In October 2011, Chavez’s government announced plans to expropriate yachts to turn them into sightseeing boats. The scheme, however, was never put in place.