For first-time boating enthusiasts and collectors alike, boat shows in 2021 provide a fun, informative opportunity to get up close and personal with all types of watercraft. You’ll also find a treasure trove of resources to help anyone making purchase decisions about boats, boat parts or boat lifts.
At the larger boat shows, many boat manufacturers will bring a range of their newest boats and accessories, which makes comparison shopping easy. Boat dealers and engine manufacturers often set up displays and stay nearby to answer questions and hold demonstrations. Whether you are in the market to buy a personal watercraft, hoping to elevate your boat’s profile with new accessories, or just want to admire the latest models, boat shows are a great way to see the latest trends in boat design.
Boat shows typically take place between late fall and early spring. Depending on your location, there may be small regional or local boat shows near you that will be convenient to attend. In case you decide you need a bigger boat show, here is a list of six national boat shows in the United States that always draw big crowds and result in the best reviews from boaters like you.
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
The Atlanta Boat Show
The Mid-America Boat Show
The Seattle Boat Show
The Miami International Boat Show
The Newport International Boat Show
When you attend your first boat show – especially if you go to a large national or international boat show – you may feel overwhelmed unless you arrive prepared. To help you have the best boat show experience, IMM Quality Boat Lifts has prepared this boat show guide. It highlights several opportunities you won’t want to miss, along with a few to avoid if you want to get a good deal on boats, boat lifts and boating accessories.
What to Enjoy at Upcoming Boat Shows
Try-Before-You-Buy Boating Accessories
Boat shows are jam-packed with tons of bells and whistles. It’s the perfect avenue to see, touch and try a variety of boating accessories and boat lifts before you buy. You can explore boat lift companies you like and get a bird’s eye view of all the products offered across the boating industry, from fuel additives and watersport technology to dock lines and electronics. If your boat show offers a map or itinerary, keep it close at hand as you navigate the venue so that you don’t miss any must-see displays. Just be sure to wear your good shoes and be prepared for plenty of walking!
Educational Demonstrations & Seminars
For those who are new to boating, the sheer level of knowledge and expertise at boat shows can present the perfect opportunity to expand your love of boats. Especially at the larger boat shows, you can enjoy live demonstrations, educational seminars and onsite presentations by boat lift companies, experienced sailors, volunteers, nonprofit organizations and boat dealers. Most are free to attend and cover topics such as how to properly dock a boat, DIY fishing rigs, boating etiquette and more!
Boat Steals & Deals
Because boat shows take place throughout the late fall and early spring, boat dealers are motivated to offer special boat show deals as they prepare for another year’s inventory to arrive. Many vendors and boat lift companies often provide package deals, decreased prices and easy financing options for their products. In terms of timing, boaters who buy a new boat at a boat show during the winter typically find it ready to sail by spring.
What to Avoid at Popular Boat Shows
Busy Boat Show Brokers
Some buyers use boat brokers to locate their next watercraft. These brokers preview potential options from boat companies and offer valuable research to help buyers make the best boat purchase for their needs. What most boat buyers don’t realize is that many brokers take on additional clients during boat show season, which can spread their time and attention thin. When representing too many people, it’s easy for a broker to accidentally confuse the details between clients, conversations with boat manufacturers and even which boats they have already called on. Yikes! If you do go this route, bring photos of the type of boat that you want to keep boat show conversations on track.
The ”Buy-Now” Pressure from Boat Dealers
Attending a boat show in person is ideal for those who are in the market to make a purchase. It’s the perfect opportunity to comparison shop between diverse boat styles. Special promotions sweeten the deal, but the resulting pressure to buy can lead some to make an impulse purchase they later regret. Avoid this common boat show mistake by arriving fully prepared.
When you arrive at a boat show, you’ll have a hundred options and plenty of boat companies and discounts trying to sway your purchase decision. So, before you arrive at the boat show, take the time to think about exactly what you need. Make sure you know your budget well in advance. Dig into manufacturers’ websites to understand specifications and details to arrive at the boat show, armed with questions. Ask about warranties, accessories, servicing options and more. Finally, remember that it’s OK to walk away and shop another day.
Transportation & Storage Problems
Let’s say you arrive at the boat show prepared, speak with the boat dealer or boat company from which you plan to buy, and money changes hands. A brand-new boat is yours! While it may be an afterthought at the show, have you considered the ordeal that comes with getting your boat into the water? There are many hidden costs of boat ownership, and the cost of boat transportation to and from the water can add up quick. For many boat owners, it’s much more economical, safe and easy to use a boat lift.
The industry’s largest and leading boat lift manufacturer, IMM Quality Boat Lifts can answer all your questions about the best boat lift for your needs. With more than 40 years’ experience in design, engineering and manufacturing boat lifts, the experts at IMM Quality Boat Lifts develop products that are safe, durable and dependable, easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. In keeping with this commitment, IMM Quality’s engineers only use the very best materials and manufacturing techniques. You cannot find a higher quality or better value anywhere else in the boat lift industry!
Learn More About IMM Quality Boat Lifts
READ MORE: 6 Questions to Ask Your Boat Lift Dealer