IIf you plan on visiting the Ft. Lauderdale show (or really any Boat Show), most likely you are interested in either sail or power. It’s rare find if someone actually embraces both yacht types.
For those who are new to boating – especially if you’re not entirely sure which way you swing - the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show is an excellent place to make the kind of side by side comparisons it takes to choose which side of the fence you’re on (for now). Here are some helpful tips to making the most of your time during the show:
Spring for VIP day: If you are a serious buyer, it really pays to cough up the extra cash to attend on opening day, otherwise known as VIP day. There is a method to the madness of show organizers charging more for tickets. It keeps attendance lower on VIP day, allowing Brokers’ to devote more time and attention to chatting up serious customers. Additionally, buyers can devote more hassle-free time asking questions and inspecting the models that float their boat… (Pardon the weak pun). Generally it’s just worth it to anyone interested in avoiding the weekend crush.
The Early Bird: …Avoids the crowds! If you abhor crowds and lines, arrive early – by 9:00 a.m. if possible. This leaves you ample time to find parking or make your shuttle. You’ll be among the first through the gates, face shorter lines to board vessels and have an unobstructed view of the exhibiting action.
Mind Your Feet: There is a lot of ground to cover and the last thing you want to worry about is how uncomfortable your heels or leather loafers are. Wear something that you can put some mileage in with. You’ll be navigating floating boat docks, climbing up and down stairs, and will probably be asked to remove your shoes before boarding any of the boats. Keep it simple, something you can slip in and out of. Boating-type, walking or athletic shoes are best.
Keep a Weather Eye: October weather in Ft. Lauderdale is notoriously fickle. There have been shows where we’ve been rained out and others where we’ve fried; sometimes both in the same day. This shouldn’t put a crimp in your sails. Check the reports before you leave and dress accordingly. Umbrellas are a waste of time downright dangerous, especially in crowds. Better to opt for lightweight rainwear or a windbreaker. Carry nothing but the essentials (keys, license, credit cards, cash) in your pockets or a zippered pouch that can be worn on your belt or around your neck. You’ll be picking up brochures, souvenirs and freebies along the way so leave the 10-pound pocketbook at home.
Do Your Homework: If you’ve come to shop at a boat show, get your knowledge base together well before the start. Subscribe to a boating magazine, search through our news archive for any general/model-specific articles we’ve written, or contact your sales representative for background information.
Things they’ll need to know:
- Will you require financing? This is probably one of the most important pieces to the puzzle and one which should be dealt with first. It’s better to always go into these things with money in the bank. It expedites the process and shows that you are serious about what you’re doing.
- Your needs: Interested in weekend sails or extended cruising? Have a large family? Don’t want to deal with anything too high maintenance? (If so, stay away from teak decks and trim)
- Consider size, galley configuration (up or down), navigation area, headroom (especially for those lucky enough to be 5-foot-10 or taller), cockpit design, accommodation layout, innovative features and technology.
- Know what the going price is, or at least have ballpark figure in mind. When you’ve scoped out the models you’re interested in, call your broker to confirm if the catamaran will be in the show or is docked locally.
- Our brokers are extremely knowledgeable, friendly and low-pressure. Ask if any boat show specials are in effect or what price reductions have gone on recently (this usually indicates a highly motivated owner anxious for a quick sale).
Take Breaks: The show will be more enjoyable and you’ll increase your staying power if you don’t try to conquer every exhibit at once. From the show’s entrance or website, pick-up or download an exhibitor map and prioritize what booths you’d like to visit. Pace yourself, map out where restroom stops are possible, refuel at one of the show's fast-food stands or have a leisurely meal in one of the many restaurants near the docks.
Lastly, depending on where you’re coming from in your visit to the show, be sure to bring your checkbook.. or leave it at home!
For more additional information, please visit www.catamarans.com