A statewide boat show will take place May 4-5 throughout Rhode Island. The annual Rhode Island Boat Show will include five venues in an effort to not only showcase boats, but also give visitors a chance to see Rhode Island’s coastline and towns, as well as the state’s boating businesses, facilities and products.
The event takes place in Bristol, Jamestown, Middletown, Wakefield and Warwick. Each venue offers an opportunity to see boats on land and in the water, meet industry experts, learn about gear and equipment and experience the Ocean State’s boating lifestyle. Each venue offers free admission and free parking to all types of boaters —from seasoned sailors and powerboaters to people who have never been on a boat.
The show is in its third year. Ryan Miller, owner of Latitude Yacht Brokerage of Newport and one of the show’s founders, said the event started in 2011 with one venue. It was a time when the country was climbing out of recession and Rhode Island’s marine industry banded together to promote their businesses and products during the spring season.
“The event was simply a way to say, ‘We are open for business,’ ” Miller said in a statement. “Now that the economy has corrected itself we have the opportunity to really showcase what Rhode Island has to offer recreational boaters.”
The show has continued as a homegrown industry effort. It was expanded to three venues in 2012 and this year it will be held at five that are family- and pet-friendly. Some of the sites will include opportunities to get on the water with classes and clinics conducted by Discover Boating.
“We want people to come to this boat show from throughout the southern New England region — to enjoy themselves and explore why Rhode Island should be their boating home,” Rhode Island Marine Trades Association CEO Wendy Mackie said in a statement.
Many out-of-state individuals have already made the Ocean State their boating home: About half of the 44,000 registered boaters in Rhode Island live in other states.