How to Make The Most of Your Boat Show Experience

Now that you have purchased your dream lake home, it’s a perfect opportunity to get a boat! Whether you are novice boater or a self proclaimed “captain of the seas”, attending a boat show is perfect for those who love being out on the water. They’re also a fantastic idea if you’re looking to get into the boating lifestyle, whether it’s just to browse the latest models of leisure watercrafts or you are looking to make your first serious purchase. We have gathered some of the top tips to make the most of your first boat show.

DO YOUR RESEARCH. If you have ever been to any kind of large product expo, preparation is crucial to getting the most enjoyment and best information efficiently. Before you even buy your tickets to the show, use the internet to get as much information as you can about the boat or any other products of interest. Information is power and knowing what you want or do not want going in, will put you in a better position to negotiate any purchase.

ATTEND ON A WEEKDAY. If it is at all possible attend on a weekday. Typically you will have more one-on-one time with vendors. This also gives you more time to try out the boat you are looking at. Sit in all the seats, discuss the layout, preview the electronics. Not feeling rushed will help with the decision making process.

BRING A BACKPACK. Plastic tote bags are great, until you have ten and your arm hurts. Backpacks or crossbody bags are more comfortable. Plan to pack a snack and water bottle. While most shows have food for purchase, they can be pricey. Sunscreen and a hat are a must if it is an indoor/outdoor show, and a light jacket just incase you have the opportunity to sea trial a boat! Can you imagine how overloaded a plastic tote bag can get? Every vendor will have brochures, business cards and usually a free product to take home.

WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES. Comfort is key because you will be doing a lot of walking. Consider also that you will be taking your shoes on and off all day to board and view various boats, so think of what style would work best for you. If you won’t be comfortable in bare feet on board a boat, some wear socks or bring slippers or shoe covers. In general, heels are not a good idea. There are often spaces between decks and steep ramps and stairs so flats or wedges usually work better than heels.

KEEP YOU OPTIONS OPEN. Everyone that owns a boat has an opinion on what is the best brand, style, color, motor size…you name it! Try not to get hung up on a single brand or model; comparison shopping can help you arrive at the deal that satisfies your heart’s desire and makes the most sense for you financially. Looking at different types can also help you compare and contrast certain features against each other so that you can find the boat that best suits your lifestyle.

SET A BUDGET. Having a number in mind that represents how much you’re willing to shell out prevents you from overspending. Don’t forget to factor in all the extras: taxes, transportation, storage, and yearly maintenance costs. The excitement of just attending a boat show can easily get to your head, but don’t be afraid to come away empty-handed. A boat is no small investment to make, and you shouldn’t be afraid to walk away from deals you find lacking or boats that don’t give you a sense of satisfaction, even if they are within your price range.

HAVE FUN. Arguably the most important tip! When leaving the boat show you should feel excited and ready to get out on the water. Remember to have fun and hopefully you will find your dream boat at the same time! Whether you are ready to make purchase or just exploring all the options to create your dream purchase a local boat show wont disappoint.

Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”

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