Marine News from the Great Lakes

The Boat Show At Catawba Island

Published: Friday, April 15, 2016

It’s hard to call it a boat show, although that’s exactly what it is. But the intimate character of this event is more like a spring reunion of boaters in a truly unique marina setting. The 2016 Progressive Catawba Island Boat Show is set to take place for three days, April 29 – May 1.

Perhaps it‘s because the show takes place at the prestigious Catawba Island Club. It lacks the long lines of the typical boat show box off, because there isn’t any admission charge; parking is free too.

What’s also not there is the crowded feeling of other major boat shows. Still, it will feature more than 100 power and sailboats for those who are looking for their next boat, or just want to learn more about the Ohio boating lifestyle. While nearly all the boats are on display in-water, the marina basin is ringed with dozens of accessory and service displays.

“We’ll have a new record number of boats on display this year,” reports Bryan Ralston, director of marketing and sales for the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association that produces the show. “And attendees will get to see many new models that weren’t displayed at last January’s boat show in Cleveland.”

Another major difference in this boat show is that all boats are ready for demonstration rides and sea trials for serious prospects. By comparison, the late August show at Cedar Point has a designated dock with a limited number of boats for demo rides. All the boats on display at the Catawba Island show are ready to go.

The atmosphere at this show is always fun. It also boasts live musical entertainment, dockside food, a special wine-tasting event, a craft beer sampling day, and introductory sailboat rides as part of the Discover Sailing program.

It was first held in 2005, and over the years has become identified as the kick-off event for the Lake Erie boating season.

A great deal of thanks goes to the boating members of CIC for giving up their slips, and having their boats temporarily relocated so the show boats can occupy the docks. Indeed, it’s the only major boat show on the Great Lakeswhere this happens, and perhaps, that’s why it feels like a boater's boat show!

Admission and parking are always FREE. This year’s show hours will be: Friday (April 29) 12 Noon to 6 PM; Saturday (April 1) 10 AM to 6 PM; and Sunday (May 1), 11 AM to 5 PM.

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tags: Boat Show

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