Atlantic City show returns next week

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The 2013 Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show will take place Feb. 6-10 at the Atlantic City (N.J.) Convention Center with new attractions for all ages.

In addition to climbing aboard and shopping hundreds of new boats, visitors can watch an expert alligator handler wrangle with a 200-pound gator, mingle with a boating star, practice their boating skills at the helm and learn from experts during a variety of interactive educational clinics.

“The Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show is 50 percent larger this year, filling 374,000 square feet of the Atlantic City Convention Center and giving boaters and families more to shop and more warm-weather fun to experience indoors,” show manager Jon Pritko said in a statement.

“The Swampmaster Gator Show is a must-see for all ages, and with dozens of interactive learning opportunities and the largest selection of new boats to browse in New Jersey, there’s no better place to discover why life is better with a boat.”

New attractions include:

Swampmaster Gator Show: Visitors can watch as expert alligator handler Jeff Quattrocchi catches an 8-foot, 200-pound alligator with his bare hands. Those brave enough to hold a baby gator can have their photo taken.

• Captain Dave from “Wicked Tuna”: Capt. Dave Marciano from National Geographic TV’s “Wicked Tuna,” who looks more like a biker than an old salt, will greet show visitors on Feb. 8, 9 and 10. From its weathered, 27-year-old hull to its tough, hard-working two-man crew, Marciano’s Hard Merchandise fishing boat is the embodiment of the blue-collar bluefin fishing industry in Gloucester, Mass. Now a TV star, Marciano has decades of fishing experience and survived a shipwreck in 2003. He will share his experience with show visitors.

• Go-Fast Boats Race into Atlantic City: Speed-loving visitors can get up close with the P1 Panther Race Boat, a 28-foot champion sport-racing boat that reaches speeds of 70 mph. Powered by an engine with more than 250 hp, the P1 Panther debuted in 2011 at the SuperStock National Championships in the United States and the United Kingdom.

• Fun for the kids: paddle boating indoors, storytelling and Patrick Star from “Spongebob Squarepants.”

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