Marine News from the Great Lakes


Published: Thursday, August 10, 2017

The boating industry is on a solid growth course, now experiencing its sixth consecutive year of increased sales in the Great Lakes region and nationally. Boat builders are investing in new model development faster than at any time in the industry’s history.

One thing’s for sure – it’s going to make this year’s fall boat shows very exciting. Because, if getting an early look at next year’s models is the biggest reason boaters flock to in-water shows like the Progressive North American Demo Boat Show at Cedar Point, they can count that as only one of the improvements announced for the August event.

This year’s edition of the oldest and largest in-water show on the Great Lakes will run for four days at Cedar Point, August 24-27. Show visitors will be treated to a variety of enhancements ranging from the boat models to entertainment as the event celebrates its 44th year.

“New models for the next year (2018) will be on display as never before,” predicts Bryan Ralston, president of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association. “It’s really because a major change in the law governing the boating industry’s model year will result in dealers receiving more new models earlier than ever.”

Ralston’s reference is to a new date that all boat builders are permitted to introduce new models, the result of changes in regulations overseen by the U.S. Coast Guard. Heretofore, the new models could not be produced until August 1 each year. That date is now June 1.

“In the past, it was hard to get new models delivered to dealers for an August or September boat show under the old regulations,” explained Ralston. “Now, builders and our dealers will have much needed time to get their new models to the market by the Cedar Point show time. And the real winners in this will be show visitors who’ll see a lot more new this year.”

New boats are just the start of the improvements planned. Last year’s experiment with a visitor’s dock for those desiring to arrive by boat proved more popular than expected. So, for this year, that dockage will be expanded.

Similarly, last year’s experiment with weekend ferry service from downtown Sandusky was a winner for many show-goers. That service will be repeated and increased, too.

More musical entertainment and new educational sessions and features are being researched for this year’s show lineup. “We’ll also be aggressively expanding our accessory and service exhibits,” said Ralston, “and our popular free admission with paid parking promotion will be renewed.”

Show updates can be followed all summer at:

tags: Boat Show, Lake Erie

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