One of the Boat Show’s most outstanding highlights this year was the display of luxury yachts, most notably the “Queen,” a beautiful Sea Ray 540 Sundancer valued at $1.4 million that redefines a modern express cruiser. In addition, visitors were able to view and purchase a full selection of opulent cruising yachts, which included new introductions and top-selling models from Azimut, Back Cove, Cruisers, Sabre and more. In contrast, while recreational boating in the U.S. is perceived to be an activity for the affluent, research shows that 83% of boat owners have a household income under $100,000, and an estimated 95% of boats on the water today are 26 feet or less. Thus, visitors who are more budget-conscious were able to check out an amazing range of affordable entry-level fishing, pontoon & cruising boats, many of which can be financed for $250 or less per month.
The rapidly increasing audience for waterskiing and watersports was thrilled to find the latest and greatest in related boats and gear, and was especially taken with the all-new Paddlepalooza Center. This exhibition featured land paddling, where a visitor could take their paddle boarding experience onto land with a long board and Big Stick designed by Kahuna Creations. “It’s a better workout than skateboarding and more fun,” marveled one excited participant. Moreover, Paddlepalooza offered expert guidance on stroke techniques, enabling guests to fine-tune their form, turning, and moving to optimum levels; an SUP Fitness Class – a custom program designed by Downunder that replicates the workout one gets from paddle boarding, SUP incorporates the bosu ball, balance bar, mat exercises and a mini paddle board made for the purpose; SUP Yoga, where participants could try an asana on a board and experience how easy it is, with no water needed; as well as on-the-water simulations and an introduction to PaddleFit, an exercise that focuses on core power.
Technology buffs were certainly not disappointed at this year’s New York Boat Show, as it was well-stocked with a wealth of high-tech gadgets & accessories. These encompassed the newest, state-of-the-art GPS devices, HD quality outdoor cameras, wireless stereo controllers, wireless network displays featuring Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities that sync to an iPod and surround sound stereo systems, plus bespoke weather accessories and a lot more.
The Boat Show offered plenty of opportunities to “get into the action” – the Power Boat Docking Challenge allowed both new and experienced boaters to become more confident behind the helm. Pitting show participants against one another as they competed against the clock, this interactive experience had visitors steering and docking a four-foot, twin-engine, remote-controlled powerboat from an actual life-size boat helm, and then taking it down a twenty-foot pool into a slip at a marina.
Catering to every level of expertise, the 107th New York Boat Show featured the Welcome to the Water Center, where boaters who are just getting started received unbiased expert advice, budget-friendly tips, local resources and free daily seminars from “The Boating Guy”; do-it-yourselfers and boat owners interested in maintaining, repairing or upgrading their boat or engine headed over to Fred’s Shed DIY Seminars & Interactive Learning Center for practical, professional advice; and beginners and experienced boaters alike were able to take their skills to the next level with a variety of three-hour interactive Premier Boating Workshops offered by The Annapolis School of Seamanship. As if all of this was not enough to absorb, Boat Show visitors also enjoyed informative and entertaining daily fishing education sessions and hands-on demonstrations hosted by top local pros at Fishing University, produced in partnership with The Fishing Line.
Celebrity lovers attending the Boat Show were visibly excited to get up close and personal with such “water world” stars as Robbie & Stephen Keszey, from Discovery Channel’s hit show Swamp Brothers, to get the inside scoop on life within Florida’s largest exotic reptile sanctuary. Star-struck children were similarly overjoyed to meet and greet Patrick Star from television’s SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as Spiderman.
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