Many people have thought about looking for and purchasing a boat of their own after seeing others out on the water having loads of fun on a hot summer day… Or maybe even a colder spring or fall day on the water fishing in some secluded cove, just enjoying the time. There are many different kinds of boats, some small, some large, some for sailing, and some for just driving fast! If you’ve ever thought of being out on the water, then you probably have a good idea of the type of boat you would be perfectly happy with and what you would like to do with it. Are you the adventuring type, and possibly want to do a circumnavigation of the world? Or maybe you just want to stay in the harbor driving or sailing along at a low speed? There are many uses and many choices available.
The best place to begin learning about all the different boats and vessels out there is a local boat show in your home town. They usually start convention center boat shows in the early part of the year, while there is still snow on the ground in a good part of the world… Usually January or February, or in Florida or other warmer states they may also take place in the late fall. A good boat show will usually last up to 5 days and you can find out a great deal about different brands and models and actually get to walk on board and inspect the boat in detail. Also, if you decide to purchase at the boat show, you will usually get a discount because the manufacturer does not want to tow the boat back to the plant because it would cost them more money. So instead, they try and reduce the price in order to sell it at the show. You’ll usually find the best boat prices available there, and take advantage of them if you can.
However, spend as much time as you need going to as many shows as possible to look at as many brands and models as they have before buying. Take your time. Probably the best boat show in the U.S. is the Miami International Boat Show which takes place around January or February of each year. It is really a big deal, and takes place in South Beach. Lately it has been at least a 5 location show, with a convention center stocked with smaller boats and models, and other associated companies that have a product targeted toward boaters. Another location has the much larger power boats which are located at a marina, and they can be upwards of 100 feet or more! A very popular venue is the Strictly Sail boats again located in a local marina. This is a big favorite due to all the marvelous lengths and beams of different monohulls and catamarans that you can tour, going from boat to boat. But be prepared to spend all day, and wear very comfortable shoes, as this is very time consuming. But at the end of the day you really feel like you’ve done something very useful and accumulated much knowledge for your boat choice.
You can literally get to the Miami International Boat Show when it opens on the first day and spend each and every day at different venues for the whole length of time the show runs and still probably not see everything available! The Strictly Sail show also has a great selection of free seminars for sailors concerning sailing in the Caribbean, going around the world, weather and what to do, electronic navigation, ship cooking, cleaning and keeping things shipshape on board, keeping pets aboard, best travel itineraries, and many, many other awesome subjects! In fact, you can spend all your time with these free seminars and lose out on your boat touring time, so make sure to budget your time wisely!
The Miami Boat Show will also usually have an in water power boat venue, where large and very large long range power monohulls and catamarans are showcased. Today they have expedition power catamarans that can travel around the world with their huge tanks of diesel, and can handle any type of weather condition. Prices do have a wide range from monohulls to catamarans, and from power to sail, so attending this boat show is really a requirement if you’re serious about doing the proper research. They are incredibly fun also, so don’t think of it as homework and drudgery. If you go into it with the right attitude, you will have a great time and really enjoy yourself! Just be sure to wear soft soled shoes and get yourself in shape before going, since it’s definitely a workout… Have fun!