There’s a lot more to do at a boat show than look at boats – and drool over what it would be like to have the kind of money it takes to buy some of those boats.
Since I’ve spent much of my singing career playing my Trop/Rock music at boat shows, I know ’em all, and have provided 10 of my top things to do at a boat show, using the Palm Beach Boat Show as q showcase event.
1. Look At The Boats
It is a Boat Show after all, that’s the whole point. The Palm Beach International Boat Show has every conceivable size and shape of boat, from an 8ft dinghy to the Queen of the Show, Lurssen’s 280 ft “Solandge” with a top speed of 17.5 knots while carrying 16 guests and a full time crew of 25 in 8 beautiful suites. There were 33 yachts over 150 feet in 2016, which broke the records from all years.s.
The Boat Show hosts hundreds of boats in-water and on land, many of which you can walk on and take in the full experience. Some of the mega-yachts require an appointment which will require your net worth and maybe your first born. But you’d be surprised how much access you’ll get with a bottle of rum to the right crew member.
Want horsepower? How’s 2500 grab you? This years member extender is Hydro Sports 53 ft “Suenos” which means The Dream with four 627 HP Big Block “Seven Marine outboards. It also boast 64 speakers with 11 power amps totaling 16,000watts. Wanna make a grand appearance? This is your boat. All you need is a mere 1.8 million. Lotto!
2. Enjoy Cocktail – Boat Drinks! – And Live Music
There are several floating cocktail barges featuring the nicest bartenders and waitresses around. The drinks flow like rum here. Excuse the pun. The music is diverse, on one stage is “Catfish” a self proclaimed dead head who grew up in a bar, a helluva-nice guy and he is joined by percussion master Tony Erice. This show Catfish is trying a grand experiment. He wants to repeat no songs over 4 days, roughly 200 songs which is quite impressive.
The big white tent features tropically inspired legend-wait for it-…dary troubadour Eric Stone. Ok shameless plug! Yep it’s me. I’ve been know to go redneck early and slam some Waylon, Willie and the Boys on the crowd. There’s plenty of Buffett and Marley for those needed an escape to the islands. If you’re bored or run out of rum, check out my website at
3. Eat – The Food At Boat Shows
Ok there’s no shortage of food at the show. You can chow down on a simple foot long hotdog in one of the tents with a cold brewski or make a trip to the food court where seafood is the King.
There is a food vender at every corner every serving up street fare with a smile. Everything from Paella to Fillet Mignon on a stick. Crazy huh? One of my favorites are Grilled Panini Chicken Caprice, ok say that 3 times fast, or did someone say Lobster Rolls? Yes they have those too. If you like bumming it, grab a free box of popcorn at the bar and a Bud Light, Redneck gourmet for one.
4. Shopping At Boat Shows
Besides boats what else would you find at a Boat Show? Well the answer is damn near everything. Any accessory you can possible imagine for you fine vessel. Not to mention clothes, shoes, hats and jewelry. As a matter of fact, the nautical jewelry is second to none. From shark teeth gold necklaces to pieces of eight from the well adorned shipwreck Atocha. They even do custom pieces here. I personally had a guitar necklace charm turned into a hanging earring years ago and still wear it today.
There is. Nice selection of teak fl handmade furniture for your waterfront estate, hanging hammocks and lounges. Excersize equipment for your boat or a fold up bike that you can keep in your closet. There’s every type of anchor you could ever want. I fell in love with the Mantis guys. Very cool technology.
So much to buy and so little money! Doh!
5. Palm Beach Nightlife – Get Clematis!
With a boat show pass, you are given a wrist band that gives you in and out privileges at the show. The world-famous Clematis Street dead ended to to main entrance of the show. This is where Palm Beach goes to party!
There are more nightclubs, restaurants and shops than you can imagine here. You can’t swing a dead rubber chicken without hitting a bar. It’s hopping all day during the show and steps up a notch or 11 at night. Live reggae Bands rock the dock on Sunday and most places have I creole Live music or a cool DJ for your dancing pleasure.
6. Fishing Classes
Boat shows have great live seminars for fishing; if you have kids this is perfect for them to do during the day. Or really, for anyone who wants to learn a bit about this activity, because the best pro fisherman teach about bait as well as how to make that perfect cast. The kids’ eyes light up when they are offered a chance to try and hit the magic ring with the flick of the wrist. I myself took a couple of casts between shows to see if I still had it. I didn’t! Time to freshen up. It’s a great family event and happens Saturday and Sunday on the grounds of the amphitheater. I still cherish the times I spent fishing with my dad growing up.
It sure beats staring at a cell phone all day!
7. People Watching At Boat Shows
I could write a book about this subject. There is more plastic in this show than any other. Ok I’m not referring to hulls of boats but more about silicone/saline type. Catch my drift? 7 inch high heels on a dock. That’s talent!
Just like the boats, people come in every shape and size as well as price. So I’m told.
Every strip bar in the area is represented as a group with a big bouncer in tow. Ok enough of that.
There’s also music lovers and people who only come to the show to drink. I’ve been told this is a party with a boat show attached to it. Makes sense. There’s so much money here it smells like fresh ink. Debutantes…ahem, I mean young girls who like older guys. I can’t remember the exact name? Something about sugar and daddy…
8. Attending A Boat Show Seminar
Seminars are a major draw a boat shows and for good reason. Where else for the price of admission can you ask questions to s seasoned expert about cruising, weather patterns or diesel maintenance?
There are fishing seminars as previously mentioned but you can also learn about etiquette and proper docking procedures. There is truly a wealth of knowledge at these seminars and the learning curve for newbies is decreased since its hands on and no question is a stupid question!
9. See Cool Things Like The Jet Pack Show
Remember go-go gadget or Maxwell Smart? Well even if we can’t really have a watch that shoots a wire to the 15 floor of a building and whisks you up to safety but you can see a human being fly on water. Yes, jet-powered water like you’ve seen so many times in old sci-fy flicks with the push of a button a man is flying with packing is back. The cool thing is that you can all rent one and after a short class you too can go up up and away.
It’s not for the faint of heart though. I’ve personally seen a guy get slammed face first into the water hard. But in classic comedy fashion he popped up and said, “it’s ok, it was just my face”!
10. The Aquazone
Aquazone features a 60x40ft 40,000 gallon demo pool. It’s located on the Meyer Aphitheater grounds. You can watch in-water demonstrations of personal watercraft and even hands on trials of your favorite new kayak or Stand-Up Paddleboard. Also on land they will be giving test drives of Go-Cycle electric bikes and the new iGo electric Gyro-Stabilized transporter and Yuneec electric Skateboard. Cool!
So make your plans and check out the Palm Beach Boat Show (it’s mid-March and admission is $21).
One of the coolest things I left off the list was what happens at 6 p.m., the final day of the show. Horns Horns Horns!
You’ll have to attend to know what that means!