Lessons Learned – by Pat Carson

Lessons Learned

Boat Shows – New Year, New Shows

Owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show is truly the grand-daddy of all boat shows. Make plans for 2024 now, the show dates are Oct. 30 to Nov. 4. For more information check out the show web site at www.flibs.com. While FLIBS may be the grand-daddy, the Miami show is a close second. The Miami show will be Feb. 13-18, however, by the time you read this it will be history so start thinking about 2025.

The Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show is truly the grand-daddy of all boat shows.

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 the focus since the show is so large; and with every boat size, design and price point on display, it can easily take five days of wandering around and you may not even see 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 2024 show dates. Looking for food or a beverage at the show, just like any special event, be prepared to be shocked at the high costs and low quality. If you are looking for a new boat then 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 highhorsepower 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.

If you going to make the cross-country trip from San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami it is much more enjoyable to travel with a yachtsman that is seriously looking for a new yacht and has a good idea of what he or she is looking for.

Cannot wait for next fall to look at boats? Closer to home check out the Seattle Boat Show presented by the Northwest Marine Trade Association.

The 2024 Seattle Boat Show was presented by Union Marine and the Port of Seattle and held at Lumen Field Event Center and Bell Harbor Marina from Feb. 2-10. The show results are in and in 2024 there were 301 exhibitors displaying their marine goods and more than 800 new and brokerage boats on display as well as 126 free boating seminars. The fun 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 nearby cruising grounds.

The two locations for the Seattle show, Lumen Field Event Center south of downtown hosts the indoor show and the in-water location was again Bel Harbor Marina on the Seattle waterfront.

Our waterfront hotel overlooked the “in water” show boats at Bel Harbor. The displayed boats were spread between the two venues with large boats, over fifty feet, in the water at Bel Harbor.

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 at Bel Harbor in downtown Seatle and those under 50 at the event center at Lumen Field. Do not expect to find any 200-foot mega yachts here, but rather a good selection of just about everything else.

The under fifty at the event center at Lumen Field.

Want to devote some time to seminars? The Seattle Boat Show had more than 126 free seminars plus several dozen paid classes offered at Boat Show University. All these seminars and classes are scheduled over the nine days of the show from 1030 to 1800 every day. Each year the Seattle Boat Show features boating and fishing seminars to help you explore new horizons and expand your knowledge of boating, 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. Get a seminar package ticket; they starting at $99 and will get you 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. If you’re 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 my favorite, “Cruising the outside of Vancouver Island,” as I am planning a cruise with a client this summer to circumnavigate Vancouver Island. Or perhaps “Cruising SE Alaska,” or “Cruising the beautiful San Juan Islands.” Not quite what you are thinking for your summer cruise, then consider the remote Queen Charlotte Islands, or venturing the Inland Passage to Alaska, then perhaps those 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 “Navigation: Understanding, A.I.S, RADAR & Modern Techniques for Collision Avoidance.” 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 Thursday, February 8 for Dogs on Deck! Photo courtesy of Seattle Boat Show.

Leash up your furry first mate and head to the show on Thursday, Feb. 8 for Dogs on Deck! Your dog(s) can stroll the red carpets with you, meet and greet with dog trainers, get a photo in the Photo Booth, have a custom dog tag made with an 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 over which boat is best for the cruising canine.

On Monday all the ladies were admitted free of charge and while the show was not overly crowded it seemed well attended and the seminars were packed.

A close second to Dog Day is Women’s Day. On Monday all the ladies were admitted free of charge, and while the show was not overly crowded it seemed well attended and the seminars were packed.

Still Reading?

Hopefully you are still reading as here is the big news. The Pacific Sail and Powerboat Show is just around the corner. As you are reading this near the end of March, in less than two months the California Yacht Brokers Association is again bringing the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show to Westpoint Harbor in Redwood City. Show dates are May 16-19.

Now in their second year as owners and producers of the show, the CYBA returns the show to the widely acclaimed venue at Westpoint Harbor in Redwood City, California. Westpoint Harbor is the newest full-service yacht harbor in Northern California, located in the southern area of the San Francisco Bay in the heart of Silicon Valley. The venue this year will expand to include more docking opportunities, as well as additional on-land booth and display areas overlooking the marina. “We are very excited to expand and enhance the Pacific Sail & Powerboat Show for our second year at the beautiful WestPoint Harbor Marina! More boats, more booths, more food, more FUN!” says Jim Behun, CYBA Show Manager.

In addition to expanded entertainment, educational, boating lifestyle and dining offerings at the show, those attending will also be able to experience the views, atmosphere and cuisine of the newly opened Hurrica Restaurant and Bar on site. This beautiful eatery is the newest waterside restaurant to be built in Northern California and is sure to gain great reviews from those wanting to drink or dine within the confines of the award-winning marina complex. The restaurant is in the lower level of the newly completed two-story marina facility, with the upper level serving as the clubhouse for The Club at Westpoint.

Addressing this year’s attendees, CYBA President Mark P. White adds, “We are very excited to have our second annual PS&PBS returning to Westpoint Harbor. With the expansion of the in-water display, more booths, and more seminars there is even more opportunity for both our vendors and our show-goers to meet their needs and expectations. With ample free parking and an amazing service staff, we fully intend for your visit to set the standard for what a modern boat show can provide in fun, entertainment, gathering of knowledge and of course fulfilling the dream of purchasing a new or used vessel, equipment and accessories.” Visit www.pacificboatshow.com for more information.

The 2024 show is the second edition of the partnership announced in 2021 between Sail America and the California Yacht Brokers Association who entered into a licensing agreement for the Pacific Sail and Power Boat show wherein the CYBA, as show managers, will eventually acquire full ownership.

And Even More News

The Sausalito boating and business communities have collaborated once again to host the second Sausalito Boat Show, set to take place at the Clipper Yacht Harbor, on the Sausalito Waterfront. This three-day celebration of all things boating will feature new luxury yachts, sailboats, powerboats, brokerage boats, gear, accessories and more, from October 4-6. The 2023 Sausalito Boat Show was supported by several sponsors including Clipper Yacht Harbor, Price Family Dealerships and Heritage Bank of Commerce who contributed to making this maritime celebration a success. Their generous support helped create an event that showcased new luxury yachts, sailboats, powerboats and more, while also celebrating Sausalito’s local culture with food, live music and art. The show took place at the Clipper Yacht Harbor near Fish Restaurant in Sausalito. Families enjoyed activities, crafts and a vibrant boating atmosphere throughout the weekend! 

Plan now to attend and celebrate maritime businesses and history at the beautiful Clipper Yacht Harbor for the second annual Sausalito Boat Show. This family-friendly community event features maritime businesses, luxury brand boats, local food vendors and music. 

Friday, October 4, 2024: 1000 – 1800
Saturday, October 5, 2024: 1000 – 1800
Sunday, October 6, 2024: 1000 – 1700

“This event is designed to be a celebration of maritime excellence and Sausalito’s local culture – food, live music and art,” said Show Manager Mitch Perkins. “We are thrilled to see the city of Sausalito, the Sausalito Economic Development Advisory Committee and the broader San Francisco Bay Area Maritime Community coming together to support this event.”

From nautical novices to serious sailors, the Sausalito Boat Show is the place for people to immerse themselves in the boating lifestyle, check out new boats, get on the water, attend educational seminars, enjoy live entertainment and have fun. New powerboats and sailboats of a variety of sizes and budgets will fill the waterfront, both in the water and on land, from Denison Yacht Brokers, H&M Marine, Club Nautique, Silver Seas Yachts, Jeff Brown Yachts and more. A large variety of boat manufacturers will be on display including Jeanneau, Beneteau, Riviera, Axopar, Cruisers Yachts, Tiara, Princess, Defiance and Chris Craft. Additionally, many marine service businesses will fill the main tent including South Beach Riggers, Trident Funding and KKMI Boatyard. The marine media outlets of Latitude 38 and Bay & Delta Yachtsman will be exhibiting and covering the event.

This event extends beyond boats, featuring local food vendors offering seafood specialties and classic California cuisine, accompanied by live music performances from Bay Area favorites. Sausalito Boat Show is an event for the whole family, including activities and crafts for kids.

Lessons Learned

Plan ahead as there are many boat shows to choose from and each offers great opportunities to view new and brokerage boats of all sizes and styles, as well as seminars, some included with admission and some at an additional cost, to tune up your knowledge or learn a new thing or two. The Pacific Sail & Power Show at Westpoint Harbor is easy to access and if 2023 is any indicator it will be a great display of all things boating at a great venue. The Sausalito show is getting tons more support from the local and boating communities and the second year looks to be a good one.

That is it for this issue as I rest my feet from the long days at the boat shows.

You never know, I might find a big ass outboard engine and a boat that can accommodate three or four of them. Of course, I still need concurrence that I really need an 1,800 HP center console day boat.

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 visits, the Pacific Sail and Power Show starting on May 16, the Sausalito show starting on October 4 and then round out the boat show year in Ft. Lauderdale on October 30. You never know, I might find a big ass outboard engine and a boat that can accommodate three or four of them. Of course, I still need concurrence that I really need an 1,800-HP center console day boat.

The key is the use of WE. Operating a boat is easier with a partner with plenty of apologies on the tip of your tongue.

Until next month, please keep those letters coming. If you have a good story to tell, send me an email patcarson@yachtsmanmagazine.com. I love a good story. If you have something to share that is right or wrong, please share as the coming June issue is my next installment of “Is it right, or is it wrong.”