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What Do You Expect To See When You Attend A Boat Show

What do we expect to see when we go to boat shows?

I have been to a lot of boat shows both in NY and beyond. I have been to the Miami Boat Show, one of the largest in the country.  My wife will always ask me why are we going to another boat show, we aren’t buying a new boat?  Well that might be true, but I continue to go and am curious as to why the overwhelming majority of visitors to boats shows attend as well

 As an avid boater, its first about seeing what’s new. I like to see displays about new products, new services, destinations, etc.  It seems that especially in the smaller and regional shows there is a shrinking amount of those types of displays.  I suppose it’s for several reasons, first the cost to attend continues to rise and then there is the time it takes to participate. It’s very easy to search for new products and services online, but there is nothing better than being able to speak with a knowledgeable representative of a new product or service.

I just went to the Central New York Boat show held at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse.  This show, as are most shows are promoted by the regional marine trades association.  When you consider that the membership of these organizations are mostly new boat dealers it’s no wonder the overwhelming majority of displays are new boats.

This year I went to that show with a purpose.  I am having a small houseboat built that will be powered by an outboard.  I was looking to speak with a dealer from whom I could purchase the motor from rather than have the house boat manufacturer install it.  I was able to speak with A-1 marine out of Moravia who not only gave me pricing but answered all my questions as to how we would achieve the installation etc.  I was also able to look at some of the features on new boats that maybe I could incorporate on my own boat.

There seemed to be less product and service booths at the show this year.  There are usually booths from the local power squadron chapter, The NYS Canal Corporation always has a presence at this show.  Local law enforcement, Border Patrol and the Coast Guard were there with their boats, Direct TV was there, and a couple of home improvement contractors.

I really think that if boat shows are going to survive, they need to start to think a little out of the box, what about setting aside some space for flea market vendors.  I have been to a couple of nautical flea markets in Florida, that are full of booths from not only individuals but companies selling products and services.   The Dania Marine Nautical Flea Market  in Florida is t now in its 37th.  year.  There is also a very popular one in Islamorada Florida  http://www.keysrotary.myevent.com/3/events.htm

I think ideas like this might be great ways to increase the popularity of boat shows with boaters.  I understand that some shows are greatly limited on space.  the Central NY Show isn’t one of them,  They have lots of room to expand.  Maybe think about discounting booths to a category of vendors.  Maybe we just need to start to think about Nautical Flea Markets as their own events here in NY?

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