Boat shows have become very popular ways for boat manufacturers to showcase their products and for consumers to research, dream about and perhaps even purchase a boat. There are as many different kinds of boat shows as there are boats with shows specializing in luxury yachts, wooden boats, power boats, sailboats and more. However, the largest shows are more general with exhibits and information on all different kinds of watercraft.
Boat shows can take place inside large convention centers or at outdoor venues like marinas. For example, the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat show takes place at six different marinas throughout the city. By contrast, the largest boat show in Baltimore takes place inside the convention center.
The most obvious things displayed at boat shows are the boats. From canoes and personal watercraft to racing sailboats and luxury yachts, there is almost every kind of watercraft available on display. Typically, boat show visitors are allowed to tour the boats and manufacturer representatives are on hand to answer questions and discuss purchase options. Be aware that there may be restrictions on the type of shoes you must wear to be able to tour the inside of a boat. At the Ft. Lauderdale show, touring the larger yachts may mean removing your shoes completely! Wearing boat shoes can make the process of touring boats a little easier.
In addition to the boats, hundreds of boat-related products and services are on display at boat shows. Exhibitors as mundane as boat insurance agencies and safety equipment dealers share floor space with custom yacht decorators and sea kayak dealers. Most boat shows are also attended by artisans that create marine-related art and sculpture. You can also find boating shoes and clothing with some shows offering fashion shows as part of the entertainment. Most boat shows provide an exhibitor map so that you can target those exhibitors that interest you the most.
Many boat shows also offer entertainment, demonstrations and special events to inform and entertain visitors. For example, the Palm Beach Boat Show offers musical entertainment during the show as well as fishing clinics for children and adults and demonstrations of the latest in boating technology. Food is also available at boat shows, though it's usually typical fair food such as hamburgers and hot dogs. Food can be expensive, so you may want to consider bringing a lunch particularly if the boat show venue is outside and you can enjoy a waterfront picnic.