The virtual world is taking a back seat as organizers prepare for record crowds at fall boat shows where consumers are expected in droves this year. From Monaco to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and New England to the Pacific Northwest, over 40 boat and yacht shows are on the books between September and December this year, with some big-name favorites mixed in with smaller regional events.
At some of the larger shows, new boat model launches as well as innovative gear and accessories are likely to entice boaters to open their wallets and dream big. Let’s look at nine of the most popular events around the world (in chronological order) and what you can expect to do and see at each of them.
Cannes Yachting Festival 2021: Glitz And Glamour
Dates: 09/07/21 - 09/12/21
Soak in the glitz and glamor of the French Riviera and the nearly 600 vessels that are anticipated to be on display at the Cannes Yachting Festival. Boats from 10 to 150 feet will grace the docks at View Port (one of the oldest ports on the Cote d’Azur) and Port Canto that hosts Voile Espace (Sail Space) for both mono- and multihull sailboats. On Saturday, September 11 on Festival beach, check out the Concours d’Elegance, a parade of both modern and vintage powerboats. The public can watch for free or you can get VIP tickets for special areas where champagne and refreshments will be served. Once you sign on the dotted line for your new yacht, visit the Luxury Gallery in Palais des Festivals for luxe goods of all kinds including watches, jewelry, fashions, furniture, real estate and private aviation options.
Tampa Boat Show 2021: Center Consoles Galore
Dates: 09/10/21 - 09/12/21
Much more low key and closer to home is the Tampa Boat Show that runs concurrently with Cannes. Not surprisingly given the Florida location, the focus here is on center console boats and fishing. Exhibitors will be inside the Tampa Convention Center as well as out at the docks. Besides perusing new boats, you can join boating seminars that cover the gamut of topics from how to catch bait to kayak fishing or sign up for on-the-water training sessions. Make a long weekend of it and learn lots or come investigate how to get into boating to start.
Wooden Boat Festival 2021, Port Townsend: Picturesque And Education Packed !
Dates: 09/10/21 - 09/12/21
Again, running concurrently with the two above is a show in the Pacific Northwest. The famous Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival in Washington state is a favorite with many. In its 45th year, the show promises to showcase over 300 wooden boats, 100 presenters and 50 exhibitors as well as featuring unusual events like the Race to Alaska Blazer Party and the Lifetime Achievement Awards that celebrate the wooden boat community and its spirit. Enjoy drinks, food, music and fun in a tightly knit boater subset that’s like no other.
Newport International Boat Show (NIBS) 2021: Prestigious New England Yachting Event
Dates: 09/16/21 - 09/19/21
The Newport show in Rhode Island celebrates 50 years and today, it’s stronger than ever. NIBS combines power and sailboats at the docks with dozens of equipment exhibitors in multiple tents on land, all clustered around Newport’s historic downtown where many sailing legends have spent significant time. Freedom Boat Club will hold in-water training sessions and there will be 10 seminars for learning all about the necessities of cruising. NIBS is known for new boat and product launches that start the fall show season off right so if you want to see the latest, make plans to attend.
Monaco Yacht Show 2021: Superyacht Mecca
Dates: 09/22/21 - 09/25/21
Back across the Atlantic at Port Hercules in France, the Monaco Yacht Show kicks off for those who are in search of superyachts and more. If you’re in the market for a 300-footer, you’ll find one here as well as a classy tender to ferry you to and from your luxe on-water accommodations. Toys like submarines and collector cars and motorcycles will also be on display and you can always book a private car, limousine or helicopter to stage your noticeable arrival. The most prominent yacht designers will be on hand too so if you need to commission a custom build, Monaco is a great place to start.
Korea International Boat Show (KIBS) 2021: Experience The Asian Boat Market
Dates: 10/01/21 - 10/03/21
For a completely different flavor, head to Goyang City in South Korea for all things water related. Whether you’re looking for a yacht or a workboat, diving equipment, kayak or watersport toys, KIBS packages it together in one show. KIBS has been running a few years now and it has grown significantly as it finds its legs.
Annapolis US Sailboat Show 2021: A Sailors Delight
Dates: 10/14/21 - 10/18/21
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more popular show with sailors than what’s known simply as the “Annapolis Show”. New sailboats with one, two and three hulls will be at City Dock in historic downtown this October. You can also check out charter companies and equipment manufacturers, and who knows what sailing legends you may bump into on the docks. This is more than a boat show. It’s an amazingly salty community that gathers to learn, party and share a lifestyle in one of the most beautiful towns on Chesapeake Bay. “Take the Wheel” interactive workshops and multiple demos are geared toward new boaters while over a dozen seminars target experienced boaters looking to hone their skills. This is the premier sailboat show in the US but we shouldn’t forget that just a week earlier (10/07-10/10), the Annapolis US Powerboat Show is held in the same place with a focus on motorized boats in a variety of sizes.
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) 2021: Superyacht Hometown USA
Dates: 10/27/21 - 10/31/21
Big boats gather each fall in Fort Lauderdale for the US version of superyacht central. Yacht crews, boat admirers and serious buyers all mingle on the docks with events and parties going late into the South Florida sultry evenings. Here, you can buy a center console fishing boat, a pontoon boat or superyacht all at the same show. For a premium experience, opt for the luxurious Windward VIP Club where for $300 per day, you’ll enjoy perks like early entry, complimentary water taxi transportation and the exclusive Captain’s Lounge with cocktails and refreshments. You won’t find a similar gathering of such exemplary vessels anywhere else outside of Southern France.
Miami Boat Show 2021: Returning Soon
Dates: Cancelled; Returns in February 2022
Due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns for everyone involved in producing, attending and exhibiting at MIBS organizers decided to cancel the 2021 MIBS event. The event is still planned to take place at the Miami Marine Stadium on February 17-21, 2022. Organizers encouraged boating enthusiasts, fans and attendees who plan to go to the show to check their website for more updates in October 2021.
This is just a smattering of the shows that you can find in the US and around the world this fall. Also, once the new year rolls by, don’t forget about the mother of all boat shows – “Boot” held in January in Dusseldorf, Germany and then the Miami International Boat Show (MIBS) that takes place each year around Valentine’s Day There’s much to see and do this year at in-person events so come smell that new boat smell as you dream of untying the dock lines.