Every year, the National Marine Manufacturers
Association (NMMA), hold boat shows throughout the country. This
year, is no different, and with over twenty shows, a large portion
of the boating public can attend. NMMA is not alone in providing
boat shows, as many local and regional boating associations and
trade groups also provide this service.
Why am I extolling the virtues of boat shows? Aren't they just
totally commercial ventures? The plain and simple answer is
- yes and no.
Yes, boat shows are held so that the vendors can pitch their
wares. Why else would the sponsoring groups go to such a risk
on their capital, if there wasn't a financial reward at the
And No, boat shows offer more than just sales people.
Most shows have other interested boating groups attend (sometimes
for free or a reduced rate), many of them are non-profit or
volunteer, using the same venue as an outreach to their market,
boaters. From environmental groups to boating education, search
and rescue to law enforcement, each has something to offer to
One of the main reasons I have attended most of the last twenty
New York City Boat Shows is that I like to see what's new in
safety equipment. Where else, can I go, in one spot, and see
the latest and the greatest! Sure, I look at the nice new big
boats, that I can only afford when I marry that filthy rich
heiress (don't tell my wife).
But let's get back to safety. At the New York Boat Show, if
I was a new boater, or even a seasoned boater, there were groups
that could provide me with important information about safety.
There was of course the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary,
handing out safe boating information, course schedules and teaching
both children and adult alike with our own USCG Cutter Coastie!
There were the New York State Park Police, New York City Harbor
Police and New Jersey State Marine Police to help people understand
the laws in their particular areas of responsibility.
There were different groups that provide services to search
and rescue groups and fisherman, the National Weather Service,
and the Department of Environmental Protection.
All of these organizations are there to educate you, the boater
in areas that are part of the larger landscape of recreational
boating. Take advantage of these fine organizations to help
make your sport a safer more environmentally safe sport.
What I failed to mention was all the commercial vendors who
manufacture and distribute safety equipment. You'll usually
find the manufacturer's at the larger boat shows. Here you can
ask the actual product managers questions on how their product
works, and what's on the drawing board.
Many of the vendor's have raffles, so if you're very lucky,
you might walk away with a new EPIRB or PFD or survival suit!
All the vendors have literature, and I strongly advise you to
take and read them.
There is lots of important safety information contained in
most vendors' literature, having nothing to do with direct sales
Did I mention that you might also win a boat, at one of these
boat shows? So, take the family and go to a boat show, a marine
event or festival this year. You may just walk away a smarter