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Olivia Hudak

By: Olivia Hudak on December 28th, 2022

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The Ultimate Guide for Boat Shows

Are you looking for the ultimate boat show guide? Look no further as this article will answer all your questions related to boat shows. As show season rolls around again, we’ve got the answers you might be looking for. Follow this article to learn all you need to know about boat shows before you shop.


To start, here’s a little background information about boat shows. If you love boating or know anyone who does, they have likely attended or, at least, heard of a boat show. People visit boat shows for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is to find the boat they want before boating season begins. What’s great is that you have the opportunity to talk to the experts about new products and what makes them so unique.


Boat shows are a great place to learn about different kinds of boats and to do a bit of your own research. There are a ton of great resources all under one roof. To start, there are all different types of boats to explore. Next, you have access to experts that can talk about the products. Whether that be a dealer salesman or a representative from the factory, I recommend taking advantage of this time with the people who know these boats best 


Use this article as your guide to shopping at a boat show.  Being prepared will set you up for success and will more than likely help you find the perfect vessel by next summer.


What is a Boat Show?

To answer this question, we’ll start simply. A boat show is an exhibition of boats of the current model year. Typically, there are a number of different brands presented at a single boat show. This is a great way to see new products and updated products.


Boat shows range in size from large, international boat shows to smaller, local shows. All can be very informational and worth the trip. Not to mention, it is fun to explore all the different brands of boats. It is the perfect place to compare different models if you’re stuck between two different types of boats. 


To get the full effect of what a boat show is, I recommend checking it out for yourself. You’ll feel the excitement in the atmosphere from everyone visiting or working the show. 


What Boats Will I Find at a Show?

There are typically lots of different types of watercrafts. From pontoons to fiberglass boats, to fishing vessels, and jet skis, the list goes on. But what else can be found at boat shows? Many times, you’ll also find boating gear such as wakeboards, trolling motors, you name it. If you’re lucky, you may even run into the famous water-skiing squirrel.


Many dealerships set up pro shops in their booths or as separate booths. You can find all the latest and greatest boating accessories to get you excited about the upcoming season. You are able to talk to experts on the equipment as well which is helpful if you don’t exactly know what you want/need. 


While you’re shopping for a new boat or boating accessories, you may need some entertainment to break up the shopping. This is where the waterskiing squirrel comes in. Well, at some select boat shows. Now, the water-skiing squirrel may not be at every boat show but there is often some kind of entertainment or seminar. 


Many boat shows offer boaters education training and seminars. This is a great opportunity if you’re new to boating and looking to learn as much as possible. Even if you’ve been a boater your whole life, it never hurts to have a refresher. Take advantage of these seminars and training sessions at your local boat show, if possible. 


Of course, the main reason people head to their local boat show is to see all the boats. Be sure to check out the newest innovations and what your local dealer has in stock. You’ll be able to see the newest and greatest models of boats. 


What Should I Wear to a Boat Show?

One common question that comes up often with new boat showgoers is what to wear to the boat show. Now, this is definitely something that is up for interpretation as there is no set rule for what should be worn at a boat show. Sometimes boat shows are held on the water and sometimes they are in convention centers depending on their location. 


No matter the venue, I recommend wearing anything from casual to business attire. If the show is taking place outside in a warm place, you’ll probably want to dress accordingly so you don’t overheat. On the other end of that is a convention hall venue. Typically, these venues are fairly cool so it may be worth it to wear some warmer clothes. 


In the end, make sure you’re comfortable for a day of walking around and getting on and off boats. You can always rep your favorite brand of a boat at the boat show. Whether it be with a shirt or a hat, this is always a great choice. 


How Much Do Boat Show Tickets Cost?

The cost of boat show tickets depends on where the show is being held. It is completely dependent on the venue. Most tickets fall into a cost range of $5-$50 per day. You can find this information on a boat show's website page. 


You’ll be able to find the cost of a day ticket, and often the cost of a weekend ticket. Multi-day tickets are great if you plan to go to the show for multiple days. Sometimes the multi-day tickets have discounted prices.


All this information can be found on the boat show’s webpage. It’s worth checking out especially if you’re considering taking the entire family. Luckily, prices are usually reasonable for the size of the show and the venue it’s at.


How Do You Find a Local Boat Show?

There are a number of places you can get information about local boat shows. The easiest way to figure out when and where local boat shows are being held is to ask a local boat dealer. They are likely participating in the show so they will be able to let you know where the next one is. 


You can also check out local boat dealers' social media pages. If they plan to go to boat shows, they will likely promote the show on their social media. This way people know where to find them at the show and where the show is. 


You can determine where local boat shows are from google as well. You might have to do a little research to find the shows closest to you but with the right google search, you’ll find the answer to your question. 


Most boat shows promote the show quite a bit so it shouldn’t be too hard to find information. You should be able to figure out when and where a boat show is taking place easily, but don’t wait until mid-January, show season starts promptly on Jan. 1. Some manufacturers will also post this information on their event page like Barletta does here.  


Boat Show Questions Answered

You now have the rundown of what to expect when attending your local boat show. This is a great way to learn all about boats and anything related to boating. You get the opportunity to learn from experts and shop for all different types and brands. 


If you have a boat show in your area, I highly recommend attending. Boat shows have fun atmospheres and are full of people who are passionate about boating. All around, they are a fun activity for a weekend in the middle of winter. Don’t miss out on your local boat show this year. 



About Olivia Hudak

Avid boater and Barletta Boats team member, Olivia is no stranger to the water. She was on the MSU wake team through college and continues to ride the wake in her spare time.