Providence show returns in February

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Organizers of the Providence Boat Show placed a special emphasis this year on easy, affordable ways to go boating.

The three-day expo, presented by Washington Trust, will take place Feb. 3-5 at the Rhode Island Convention Center.

“We have a wide range of boats, from the latest designs from leading manufacturers, to stand-up paddleboards, to brokers who help individuals purchase pre-owned boats, to boating clubs,” Rhode Island Marine Trades Association CEO Wendy Mackie said in a statement. “All show-goers will find a way to enjoy the water that is right-sized for their pocketbook.”

The Providence show features 125 exhibitors from throughout the region and some 130 boats. Organizers said show-goers will see the latest in technology from leading manufacturers, as new powerboats and paddle craft represent nearly 20 percent of the fleet on view. Visitors also can learn about a type of watercraft whose popularity has caught on like wildfire: stand-up paddleboards.

Organizers said a study conducted by the Outdoor Industry Association found that the growth of stand-up paddleboarding has outstripped all other outdoor recreations, growing in participation by 26 percent during a three-year period.

The boat show’s indoor pool will feature stand-up paddleboard demos. The growing popularity of these boards has given rise to new ways to use them, including SUP yoga and fishing, both of which will be demonstrated at the show.

“When you attend a boat show, one of the more important ‘products’ you come in contact with are knowledgeable marine professionals,” said Matt Leduc, of Latitude Yacht Brokerage in Jamestown, R.I. “Brokers with years of experience who can help buyers find the boat they are looking for will be at the boat show.”

The show includes free seminars on sport fishing coordinated by Capt. Jack Sprengel of East Coast Charters in Warwick, R.I. Sprengel has hand-picked experts and tournament fishermen who will educate local anglers and fishing enthusiasts who want to travel to the Ocean State.

Sessions focus on technique and the unique coastal geography of places such as Block Island Sound and Rhode Island’s East and West bays. Free seamanship seminars will be offered by captains from the Annapolis School of Seamanship.

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