Ask Barry: It's Boat Show Season


Which shows should you check out, and what should you bring home? Barry Paulsen has you covered!

Peak boating season may be a few months away, but convention centers and marinas around the United States are gearing up to host thousands of boaters. Boat shows are happening all around the country, and we’re pretty excited to get out and look at what manufacturers and dealers are offering in 2018. The only question is, “Are you going?”

The best thing to do at this time of year is to get out and support your local show. This really is the part of my job I love the most. All in all, I visit about 12 boat shows a year, including some cool sport and boat shows that also have RV’s, hunting exhibits and fishing gear. Yacht shows on the water are some of my favorites, as well, but whatever the main attraction, you should visit your local show.

Stay Updated on Safety

A nice feature at every show is that they have Coast Guard or Power Squadron booths. Please visit them, so you can stay current on boating laws and safety tips. Most shows have seminars on all kinds of topics, like maintenance, safety classes and general boating and fishing instruction.

Start with the Big Boats

I like visiting the big boats first when the lines are the shortest. They can be harder to get to later in the day. Then, I hit the ski boats and family boats. As the show gets busier, the best strategy is to hit the booths. The marina booths help me to start my planning on where to go in the summer, and you should get their contact info for when you need it down the road. This year, I think I’m taking a houseboat trip to Shasta.

Restock Your Important Gear

I will probably pick up some tackle at a show to replace what I lost last year. Anytime I am moored, you’ll see a hook in the water. I can’t wakesurf yet, but I will definitely be checking the latest in water skis.

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