As we hit the the peak of boat show season last weekend, we looked back on the summer of fantastic boat shows that we have gone to date. And one thing hit us. The cost! We figured that for every show we go to, the cost came out to around $1,500 a weekend, depending on the show. Ya figure Gas, hotel, meals and more gas.. Now, if you include airfare, and car rentals, it can climb up very fast… a spouse and add about 50% more. Now… if you are only going to one or two shows a year, these costs are very reasonable and OK for a fun get away weekend. To be fare, the show it’s self is usually 15 bucks, and if you want to enter a boat. Another $75 or so. Nothing earth shattering. It’s the hidden costs that eat ones wallet. NOW.. if you are bringing a boat to the show.. you can add another chunk of change. So why do a story like this? Why remind folks that it costs them money to go to a show? Because in the end, it aint a show if there are not any boats. The truth is, it’s a bitch to put on a show, lots of thankless hours of volunteer work, and preparation. But if some guy does not bring his boat to the show, it’s all meaningless. Take this past weekends show in Clayton. Not one of there banner years. As one reader said, ” there were more boats in the auction than at the docks” maybe not true, but close enough that there is a point there. So why? Are shows down this year? Yes.. We would guess from going to the shows.. About 10%-20% down.. Is it just gas, costs as mentioned above ? Actually, we don’t think so.. Maybe its all the stuff added up? Or is it that boat shows are becoming irrelevant? And yes I had to look up irrelevant! Anyway.
We noticed this year that certain shows were up surprisingly! Certain events had more action and fun associated with them. Tahoe with its extreme focus on Rivas, Lake Mohawk, and its focus on fun and visiting a new location. This was the second year of Lake Mohawk. And is about double from last year. A fun small Lake with insane high quality boats . Now, one could say the first year was small because it was new.. Right, but it grew.. LIFE! Folks like a gathering of like minded folks. So maybe its the way shows are perceived…. Here is a possible explanation. And its not about age.
Back in the day, clubs and shows were a very key part of allowing folks of like minds to gather together and meet. In fact it was the only way. So a local and national event was more than looking at boats and talking to fellow classic boaters. It was the only way to meet and share information. Well.. Mr I am reading this today.. Things have changed. No longer do we need to meet in or on a specific location and date. We can sip our java and talk with chums as far away as New Zealand in a second. I can see more boats than Chris Smith did in a lifetime of making boats. So going to a show is not important anymore. It’s fun.. A transference from need to fun has happened over the past 10 years. Now with that observation, I would say that the folks that are showing up are doing it to have… fun! To take there boats out on the water, and not feel like they are the only ones that smell gas all time, or that the 1 gallon of water in the bilge is normal. And yes.. TO SMELL THE VARNISH! To touch and see wonderful craftsmanship in person. To be with others to test the waters so to speak. many of us, are new to this. We were 5 when our dads sold the old Woody.. So really and honestly, staring at a boat at a dock, aint why we are at a show. This isnt rocket science. It’s marketing, it event planning and its promotion. Not about money or the price of fuel. We would love to know your thoughts on this. From folks that put on local shows and what you have seen succesful and not! Thanks from the team at Woody Boater.