Boat Show season is in full swing! Sheltered Cove Marina participates in several boat shows in New Jersey and New York during the year: the NJ Boat Sale and Expo, both Progressive Boat shows in Manhattan and Atlantic City, and the Atlantic City In-Water Boat show. These shows are a ton of fun, cheap to get into it, and a great time for the entire family. Not mention, you could find your dream boat at one of these shows: the prices that you find at the shows are much lower than you will find any other time of the year.

However, boat shows can be very overwhelming – there are A LOT of boats, brands, manufacturers, and dealers. Whether you are a first-time boat show visitor or a seasoned vet, we put together a list of tips that will help you stay focused, stay organized, and get the most out of your trip to any boat show.

Come prepared

You can almost always purchase tickets ahead of time at a discounted rate. While most boat shows are not very expensive, it is always nice to get a little discount. At Sheltered Cove Marina, we make sure to advertise on our website, social media channels, and newsletter that we are going to be at a boat show and some of the inventory that we will be bringing.

Boat shows have so much going on and you can easily be overwhelmed with the fear of missing something, but there are ways to help prevent this. Every boat show has a website full of resources, a list of vendors, activities, hours of operation, transportation and parking options, and usually a floor map. Make sure to take a look at these items and to print the floor map to try to plan ahead.

Plan your route

Ideally, you would download and print a floor plan from the boat show’s website so that you can plan out what you want to see and get a general idea of what is where. If you can’t get a copy of the floor plan beforehand, when you get to the show make sure to get a map and take a few minutes to see where everything is located. This will help you to make the most of your time inside of the show so that you are not too overwhelmed by all of the demos, banners, boats, and manufacturers vying for your attention.

Dress comfortably

Boat shows are massive and you want to make sure that you will be comfortable for the entirety of the show. You will be walking a lot, getting in and out of boats, looking at the ins and outs of vessels, so make sure you are wearing clothes that you will be comfortable in for hours. Shoes should also be something that you take into account: wear a pair that are very comfortable and easy to slip on and off. Many boat dealers request that you remove your shoes before boarding the boat in order to not scuff the finish.

Take your time

The boat show is the time for you to take a good look a the details of the boats. Make sure you take your time and explore the different models and their features. If you are unsure about anything, ask one of the sales people that are representing the dealer: they are there to answer your questions and help you in every way possible. They can explain what is included, how a certain item works, what the purpose of specific features are, and much more. Boat manufacturers like Regal, Sea Fox, Century, Sylvan, Bentley, an more are always innovating and adding new features that you may not even have thought about.

Bring a tote bag

ome show sponsors will give away some sort of plastic tote bags for guests to carry pamphlets and other goodies, but often times those handles get tiresome to hold, sweaty, and are difficult to tell apart from others. Bringing a tote bag from home saves you from these problems — or even a backpack if you are so inclined. You will be offered plenty of paper information, catalogs, brochures, and free goodies by the vendors and sponsors, so a bag is a must-have.

Bring your checkbook

While you may not think of bringing your checkbook to a boat show, it may come in handy: manufacturers and dealers offer their best prices at boat shows. There are sales and financing incentives that you won’t see during any other time of the year, and you may just find your dream boat at an unbeatable price. Whether you are making a deposit on a boat, or just purchasing clothes and other accessories at discounted prices, make sure you bring your checkbook or credit card to make some purchases.

The most important tip for a boat show: have fun! There are so many things to do at a boat show that it is a good time for the entire family. Food, drink, entertainment, and boats as far as you can see, these shows are always a great time – enjoy it! We hope these tips help you to get the most of our your boat show experience, and if you are going to the NJ Boat Sale and Expo or the Progressive Atlantic City Boat Show, make sure to stop by our booth, take a look at our expansive lineup of boats, and say hello!