How to Shop a Boat Show to Find Your New Boat

As a first-time boat-buyer, identifying what boat type and boat make you want is difficult. Shopping at dealers helps, and so does looking online at our marketplace. But to get a hands-on look and feel before you actually buy a boat, and perhaps to even make your purchase, one of the best places to go is to attend a boat show. There are big national shows like the Miami International Boat Show, but you’ll also find many regional shows, and even local shows in your area that might be set up in a sports arena, or maybe even just a large, local parking lot. Whatever the show format, you’re sure to find boats, boating life accessories, and information about everything boating you can imagine, from financing to insurance, clubs and more. And you’ll be surrounded by people just like you, who love the boating life or are excited to get into it.

Boat Show
Attending a boat show offers you all the information a first -time boat buyer needs to begin the boating life the right way.

Browse the Latest Boats

Seek out your top boat brands or types, or look at them all to narrow down your search.

The local dealers and brands will always attend a show in their area, and often nationwide — you can be sure you’ll see a nice range to compare and contrast. You can also talk to the manufacturers first-hand, which can give you a better feel for the boat brands and the spirit behind them. You may also meet local dealer representatives or reps from marketplaces like ours. Even if you’re not buying a boat just yet, or you have one you’re not ready to give up, it’ll be fun to explore the latest in boating technology and features for the future. You should use this time to build a relationship with a local dealer, and narrow down the boat makes and models you’d like to purchase. 

Plan to Sit in on a few Seminars 

Take advantage of educational events to increase your boating knowledge.

Most of the time your boat show entry fee includes seminars and other fun events. Before you head out to the show, review its website and identify a few educational events to sit in on. You can quickly school yourself on things like winterizing your boat, to seamanship, to how to approach new and used boat financing

Costs of Owning a Boat
Exploring the latest in boating tech and accessories is part of the fun, even if you’re not in the market for a new boat.

Shop for Boating Trailers and Accessories

See for yourself how fast boating accessories are evolving. 

Walking these shows there’s so much you hope to see, and so much you didn’t expect to see. Boat shows are an excellent time to explore the types of boat trailers. You’ll need the trailer before you have the boat, most likely. Check the latest in boating GPS navigation electronics. See how the newest fish-finding technology can up your angling game. Pick up a new inflatable to tow your kids on. Keychains, life jackets, pet boating needs, linens and decor — you name it, you can find it at the boat show. Promo is fun and aplenty here, but so are great deals, and accessories are a fun way to level up your boating life. 

Score a Boat Deal

Buy a boat on the spot if the price is right. 

Part of the reason manufacturers and attendees meet at these shows is to simply sell and buy boats. While you might think boat shows are only for new boats, sometimes, especially in local shows, used boats are brought onsite. Traditionally held from late fall to early spring, boat sellers are excited to kick off the season with great deals, even in today’s marketplace. Keep an eye out for things like package deals and low-interest financing at shows this year. Even if you place a boat on order and have to wait a few months, it will all be worth it when you lower that boat into the water for the first time. 

Do all your boat-buying research and exploration in one place.

Ready to attend a boat show near you? It’s such a fun and educational experience. Check out this calendar of boat shows to find one, then plan what you want to do and see before you go, so you get the most out of it.