As fall hits boat show season approaches, and the first of the big fall shows to take place is the Newport Boat Show (September 14 – 17), followed by Norwalk (September 21 – 24), and then the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis (October 5 – 9), and finally the United States Powerboat Show (October 12 -15). Yes, all of these are mere build-ups compared to the massive Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (November 1 – 5), which is so massive it gets its own preview. But beyond simple geography, there are many reasons to attend each.
Newport International Boat Show
The Newport International Boat Show is held in the downtown waterfront of Newport, RI. Along with 600-plus in-water and on-land boat and accessory exhibitors, both power and sail, the show features training sessions with USCG-licensed captains (pre-register online), Tesla test-drives, and the chance to win a week-long vacation in the US Virgin Islands. Plus, running concurrent with the boat show is the second annual Newport Wooden Boat Show. No additional ticket is needed to attend the Wooden Boat Show, and water taxi service will shuttle you between the two venues. If you’re a serious buyer, you can also register to pre-qualify for marine financing with LH Finance. Do so, and you’ll get two complementary show tickets, passes to the VIP lounge, and a pair of free cocktails.
Visit the show website for more info.
Progressive Norwalk Boat Show
The Progressive Norwalk Boat Show takes place at Norwalk Cove Marina in East Norwalk, CT. The show includes a long list of activities starting with “Boat Confident” training by the Annapolis School of Seamanship. There will be hourly docking demos, clinics, and hands-on training. People interested in paddle-sports will want to check out the Try It Cove, where you can experience stand-up paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks. DIY boaters will want to swing by the “Fred’s Shed” learning center, where there will be free maintenance and repair seminars. There are also lots of activities for the kids, including paddleboats, a toy boat-building station, and “Nature Nick’s Animal Adventures” with monkeys, wallabies, and parrots.
For more information, visit the Norwalk Boat Show.
United States Sailboat Show
The city dock in downtown Annapolis, Maryland hosts the United States Sailboat Show, which is the largest in-water sailboat show in the world. Highlights include the Vacation Basin where you can learn all about chartering, traveling, and vacationing aboard; the Brokerage Cove where previously-owned sailboats are up for sale; Cruisers University with curriculum on cruising sailboats (pre-register here); and “First Sail” workshops, which have two and a half hour on-the-water sailing classes aboard a Beneteau First 22 (also requiring registration). But the reason most people attend Annapolis is because this is the place to see the hottest new models in the world of sail. While larger shows in Florida, like Fort Lauderdale and Miami, get all the new powerboat previews, Annapolis is where sailboat manufacturers unveil their latest and greatest. And for 2017, top builders will be showing off new models ranging from 11’1” to 58’.
For more information, visit the United States Sailboat Show.
United States Powerboat Show
A week after the sailboats move out of Annapolis, the powerboats move in for the United States Powerboat Show. Over 400 boats will be on display, from 8’ to 80’, including everything from inflatables to offshore fishing machines to luxury yachts. There’s also a Brokerage Cove at this show, and a demo dock allows interested buyers to take many different models on sea trials. Free boating seminars and Cruisers University for powerboaters (pre-registration required) are also offered. Buying your ticket online also gets you entered in a drawing for a week-long MarineMax Vacation bare-boat Caribbean charter aboard one a luxury power catamaran. The biggest draw, however, may be the world-famous Pusser’s Painkiller Party Barge.
For more information, visit the United States Powerboat Show.
We hope you attend at least one of the fall shows, and see a slew of interesting boats. But if you come home empty-handed remember that every day is boat show day here at boats.com, where we have over 170,000 listings for new and used boats. And if you feel you still need to do more research before settling on a particular make and model, be sure to check out our endless supply of boat reviews.