Regional and larger boat shows are often hosted in late winter and early spring when manufacturers are ready to roll out the years newest products. Here are some quick tips to consider before visiting a boat show.

Before You Go

  • Identify your budget and the type of boat you are interested in. Don’t forget to consider costs for maintenance, storage, insurance, and registration/documentation.
  • If you’re planning to finance your purchase, consider qualifying in advance.
  • Review the shows exhibitor list before you go, and identify the brands, dealers or specific boats you are interested and visit those dealer and manufacturer websites in advance. Most shows also have online maps available in advance so you can plot your course.
  • Prepare a list of questions for the professionals. Boat shows are crowded and time is limited. Have a list of questions in advance. These could include questions about warranties, servicing, financing, training, storage and delivery.

Dress Comfortably

  • Dress for a full day outside.
  • Most dealers/manufacturers will ask that you remove your shoes before boarding, so comfortable slip on shoes are best.
  • Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.

Serious About a Purchase? Talk to the Right Person

  • Dealers will have all hands on deck to deal with all the foot traffic. Make sure your talking to the specialist, not the receptionist.
  • Qualify who you are speaking with. Ask how long they have been with the company and what experience they have with the type of boat you’re interested in.

Keep Walking

  • If you don’t see exactly what you want most manufacturers and dealers will be able to identify similar models with different options that they have available or in production.
  • Ask the competition what they think. If you talk to several competitors and start hearing trends in what their saying go back to doing your research so you can make an educated decision.
  • Set up a follow up appointment where you can visit the dealer/manufacturer and have the dealer or manufacturer’s undivided attention.

Bottom Line

If you do plan to make a day-of-event purchase, consult your attorney before you attend and have them on speed dial. If you should have any questions, concerns or need assistance, please feel free to contact me by email at or by phone at 239-344-1249.