Being new to the marine industry, I had no idea what to expect when attending my first yacht show. My coworkers could never seem to give me a direct explanation of what it was like or what it entailed. It was a "see for yourself" experience. Lots of hard work went into preparing for my first boat show, but I was yet to see what thrills the week had in store for me. I decided to jot down some of my main takeaways from this exciting new adventure as a keepsake to me and a guide to future attendees!
Starting my week at the Miami Boat Show was no walk in the park. Every time I turned around there was something new to learn. Whether I was running errands or prepping boats, there's some tips I wish I had known from the very beginning. For example, shoes are a BIG deal. My first thought was to wear comfy sneakers that supported my feet while I pranced around a dock all day, but that is not the correct shoe of choice! Although boat shows are typically large and involve lots (and lots) of walking, easily removable shoes are convenient if you want to tour the magnificent yachts vendors have displayed. Many vendors also require appointments in order to take a walk-through on their boats, so make sure you've done your research.
Location is another huge obstacle when it comes to boat shows. A map is your best friend. I learned the hard way that not only are boat shows a lot of walking, but hard to navigate because of the crazy amount of boats in one place. At the Miami International Boat Show, Leopard Catamarans was at the end of pier nine. This meant that we were the farthest space on the dock and the farthest dock from the entrance. Lucky me! It definitely took me a few laps before I knew exactly how to get where I was going.
I realized early on that if I wanted to tour any other boat that was not a Leopard Catamaran, giving out my email address was something I had to accept. Most vendors displaying yachts take your name and email address before you can climb aboard their yachts. A little inconvenient time wise, but totally worth being in on the excitement!
Not only are their early mornings when working a boat show, but many late nights as well. However, these were the kind of nights so exciting you wish they could last longer! This past year, I got to experience the Leopard Party hosted by Leopard Catamarans. This was a VIP event for Leopard owners and those interested in purchasing. Planning the event was a lot of hard work, but it was so worth seeing the turn out in the end! From photo booths, to catering, to drinks and mingling, I got to meet some great people and treat myself to some well deserved fun! If you have the opportunity to attend a party at a boat show-- take advantage!
Boat shows only last about a week, so it's no surprise how packed they are on a daily basis. Week days are a bit less crowded, but when Saturday and Sunday roll around, the crowds can get massive! There is only enough space on the docks for a certain amount of people, so be prepared to wait in long lines for food, boats, drinks, etc. As long as you go in with an open mind and an open schedule, a weekend at a boat show is worth while.
There are two types of people: those who are serious about buying a yacht in the near future, and those browsing to figure out what it is they want in a yacht. Neither group is better or worse than the other, however, if you are seriously looking to make a purchase, there are some things to keep in mind. VIP day is the best option for those who really want details on a specific boat and need to sit down with an experienced agent. This is the time to learn everything you can about the boat and make sure it's the perfect fit for you. Beating the crowds is also ideal, that way you don't miss the great deals on boats before they sell out by the end of the week. All fun aside, making a good buyer decision is worth a few hours of seriousness to find your dream boat.
Lastly, finding a great deal and a perfect boat take some research before hand. Study up on what products each vendor will have available to tour, that way you'll know exactly when and where your desired boat will be located. It is also important to reach out to Sales Agents for each brand you are interested in to see if you can find out what the boat show specials might be. Sometimes you can even get better deals BEFORE the show starts. This won't always be the case, but better to be safe than sorry! Why not score a great deal on your dream boat?
A week at a boat show had it's high and lows (mostly highs) and I'm grateful to have had such a good first experience! I firmly believe that attending a boat show is mandatory for everyone AT LEAST once. I hope these tips created a clearer picture and this inspires the next person to get out there and "see for yourself."