Lessons Learned – by Pat Carson
Boat Shows – Redux
Owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show is truly the granddaddy of all boat shows. You should make plans for 2023 now. Show dates are Oct. 25-29. For more information check out the show website at www.flibs.com. While FLIBS may be the granddaddy, the Miami show is a close second. The Miami show will be Feb. 15-19, however by the time you read this it will be history, so start thinking about 2024.
If you’re going to make the cross-country trip from San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami it is much more enjoyable to travel with a boater that is seriously looking for a new yacht and has a good idea of what he or she is looking for. Looking at superyachts? Prescheduled appointments are a must, so get your calendars in order prior to heading out. Knowing what you are looking for also helps keep your focus since the show is so large. Since it has every boat size, design and price point on display it can easily take five days of wandering around and then not even seeing half of the show. The Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show is both exciting and overwhelming and it can also be expensive. While the show tickets are reasonable, everything else is not. Hotel rates go up by a factor of 3X and many of them are already booked for the 2023 show dates. Looking for food or a beverage at the show, just like any special event, be prepared to be shocked at high costs and low quality. If you are looking for a new boat, try to look beyond the flash and sizzle and think about how you would really use it. While I would really love to have a 39-foot center console day boat with four high horsepower engines, is it really what I need? I am still working on convincing someone that I really do and if that ever happens you will be reading about it in this magazine.
Can’t wait for next fall to look at boats? Check out the Seattle Boat Show. The 2023 Seattle Boat Show was presented by Union Marine and the Port of Seattle and held at Lumen Field Event Center and Bell Harbor Marina on February 3-11, 2023. They advertise 300 plus exhibitors displaying their marine goods and more than 800 new and brokerage boats, as well as 100 boating seminars. The fun it is not quite on par with the Florida shows and the weather is a bit brisker, but it is in our backyard and for some we consider Puget Sound as nearby cruising grounds.
The two locations for the Seattle show are Lumen Field Event Center south of downtown which hosts the indoor show and Bel Harbor Marina on the Seattle Waterfront, which was the in-water location this year.
The Seattle boat show is the largest show on the West Coast. The displayed boats were spread between the two venues with large boats over 50 feet in the water and ones under 50 at the event center. Do not expect to find any 200-foot megayachts here, but rather a good selection of just about everything else.
Want to devote some time to seminars? The Seattle Boat Show had more than 100 seminars scheduled over the nine days of the show. Each year the Seattle Boat Show features boating and fishing seminars to help you explore new horizons and expand your knowledge of boating. They are taught by maritime experts who are excited to share their nautical know-how. In person seminars sponsored by Union Marine typically run in one-hour segments and are free for show attendees at the Lumen Field Event Center. Boat Show University webinars sponsored by The Boat Insurance Agency are longer and offer more in-depth instruction, however entrance is not free. A seminar package ticket starting at $99 will get you into any of the seminars at the Boat Show University as well as downloadable files that you can review as often as you like.
From seminars on engine care and feeding to crab fishing in Washington, there is something for everyone. Thinking about cruising the Pacific Northwest, San Juan Islands or venturing further north into Canadian waters, do not miss the seminars at the boat show university such as “Barkley Sound & Beyond: Conquering the West” (my favorite) or “Cruising SE Alaska.” If you are thinking of cruising the beautiful San Juan Islands, the remote Queen Charlotte Islands or venturing the Inside Passage to Alaska, then perhaps other seminars are of interest. I believe, as boat owners, we are always “looking” at boats so an hour investment in learning “How to Inspect Your Next Boat Like a Pro” would be time well spent. A seminar of value for anyone with limited experience cruising the Pacific Northwest is “Mastering Navionics Apps to Sharpen Your Navigation Skills.” You get the idea, there is something for everyone at the boat show.
What was my favorite day? Thursday of course.
Leash up your furry first mate and head to the show on Feb. 9 for Dogs on Deck! Your dog(s) can stroll the red carpets with you, meet and greet dog trainers, get a photo in the photo booth, have a custom dog tag made with our on-site engraving machine and sniff out their favorite boats. We walked the show from the opening bell to late in the afternoon on Thursday amongst the hundreds of furry friends, and not once did we hear an argument, growling or snarling between the boat dogs about which boat is best for cruising.
My second favorite day was Wednesday when the water rescue dogs visited the Bell Harbor Marina to demonstrate on water safety and rescue. We were able to meet the Newfoundland rescue dogs, Oakley and Angel from the American Academy of Canine Water Rescue after their demonstration of their cold-water rescue skills. The academy breeds and trains Newfoundland dogs and Labrador Retrievers to rescue people in the water. It was quite an impressive hour-long demonstration of the dogs pulling people, rafts and boats back to shore from 100 yards out.
Hopefully you are still reading as here is the big news. After a three-year break, it looks like the San Francisco Bay Area will have an actual boat show. Plan for May 4-7 at Westpoint Harbor in Redwood City.
CYBA & Sail America Announced A New Agreement For The Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show
Sail America and the California Yacht Brokers Association announced that they have entered into a licensing agreement for the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show. Under the agreement, the CYBA assumes management of the show. Ownership of the show will also transfer to the CYBA over the period of the agreement. Plenty of work has already been done since the transferring of duties and responsibilities for show management to CYBA. Look for in the water boats, trailer boats on land, vendors in tent booth displays and plenty of seminars that will be useful to sail and power boaters alike. By the time this issue of the Bay & Delta Yachtsman is published, late March, there should be more information available. If you have not been to Westpoint Harbor lately you are in for quite the surprise. With the recent nearly doubling of dock space, easy fuel dock access with Valvtect gas and diesel, and acres of land for boats and vendors, Westpoint is an extremely attractive location. I am hoping to see the support of this show from many exhibitors, yacht brokers and attendees.
Winner of “Marina of the Year” in 2018 is Westpoint Harbor which is San Francisco’s most modern first-class marina. With over 400 concrete dock slips and the ability to accommodate vessels as large as 120 feet, the boat basin only uses half of the 50-acre site leaving lots of room for shore side activities. Check their website for more details at www.westpointharbor.com
So, you have developed a new product and have gone to the expense of showing this new product at a boat show, I would think the factory would make an extra effort to have the best available product sample on display. Although I was not looking for a tender, I could not help to stop and talk to the factory rep and get a closer look at this one with the roto molded hull and the huge crack on the bow.
The rep was eager to relay the efforts that went into the design and how the first models have been well received by their new owners. Taking a closer look at the interior and especially the fit and finish, my eye was drawn immediately to the trim where it appears the interior decking meets the hull.
I probably do not need to mention that I was the only person that stopped to take a closer look while tender row was packed with hundreds of potential new tender owners. Perhaps this might have been better saved for one of my “Is it Right, is it Wrong” pieces but I just had to share now.
That is it for this issue as I rest my feet from the long days at the boat show.
Time for me to sit back, enjoy a good glass of port and light up a fine cigar while I plan for my next boat show visit, the Pacific Sail and Power Show starting on May 4. You never know, I might find a big ass outboard engine and a boat that can accommodate four of them. Of course, I still need concurrence that I really need a 2400HP center console day boat.
Until next month, please keep those letters coming. If you have a good story to tell, send me an email at email@example.com as I love a good story. Have something to share that is right or wrong, please share as the May issue is my next installment of “Is it right or is it wrong.”