This roundup of upcoming shows and events includes news from the London International Boat Show, Toronto International Boat Show, the Mid-America Boat & Fishing Show, the Arkansas Marine Expo, the Detroit Boat Show and the American Boat Builders & Repairers Association.
British model and sportswoman Jodie Kidd officially marked the opening Friday of the 2011 Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show at ExCeL with fireworks and fanfare.
The glitzy 10-day show, the largest in the U.K., features an array of boats and watercraft peppered with entertaining presentations of wakeboard jumping, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking on a sprawling 230-by-79-foot indoor pool.
Other features include an indoor "dry marina," complete with docks and slips displaying new boats; an outdoor in-water display of used boats; an indoor display of classic wooden boats; and a sail-training simulator for attendees to learn the finer skills to set, trim and jibe.
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Jeppesen and Standard Horizon are teaming up to offer Canadian boaters free, hands-on instruction in electronic chart plotting during the Toronto International Boat Show.
The public training sessions will be held each day of the show, which runs Jan. 8-16 at Toronto's Direct Energy Center.
The free training will cover the basics, as well as the finer points, of navigating with Standard Horizon chart plotters and C-MAP Max electronic charts.
The training sessions will take place three times each day of the show in order to accommodate as many boaters as possible.
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The 54th annual Mid-America Boat & Fishing Show runs Jan. 14-23 in Cleveland at the I-X Center.
The largest indoor boat show in the region will include used boats alongside the newest powerboats, fishing boats, sailboats and personal watercraft.
Highlights of the show include:
- The Time Bandit Super V Lite offshore raceboat will be on display Jan. 20-23 at the show.
- On Put-in-Bay Days, at 5 p.m. Jan. 19-20, the show's admission price will be reduced to $5 and there will be entertainment from South Bass Island regulars Mike "Mad Dog" Adams, Ray Fogg and Westside Steve Simmons on Jan. 20.
- A canned food drive to benefit the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland will be held Jan. 18. Each visitor who brings four cans to help fill a small boat will receive free admission.
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The 29th Annual Arkansas Marine Expo will take place Jan. 21-23 in downtown Little Rock's Statehouse Convention Center.
This will be the only boat show in Little Rock this season.
This year's Marine Expo, sponsored by Chesapeake Energy, will showcase nearly 200 boats, including bass boats, deckboats, ski boats, wakeboard boats, party barges and personal watercraft, along with an expanded selection of discount fishing tackle.
Marine Expo is bringing back the "First Mate Scouting Patch Program." It was created to introduce parents and children to boating and fishing as an activity that the family can enjoy year-round. Exhibitors will be on hand to provide information on area lakes, vacation destinations and products related to fishing, boating and recreation.
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The 53rd annual Detroit Boat Show is scheduled for Feb. 12-20 at the Cobo Center.
More than 60,000 consumers are expected to attend the event, which features hundreds of new boats of all types and sizes.
"The Detroit Boat Show is a great family event to attend, whether you are in the market to buy a boat or if you are just looking for an opportunity to have nine days of fun," said John Ropp, president of the Michigan Boating Industries Association and boat show manager, in a statement. "We bring hundreds of boats for fishing, skiing, wakeboarding, pontooning and cruising to Cobo for easy comparison shopping and fill the hall with great activities and promotions for those looking for something to do with their family or friends."
Special features include the Live Shark Encounter Show, the Time Bandit Race Boat, a Sponge Bob appearance, the Discover Boating Center, the Be A Diver Pool, Adopt-a-Pet weekends and antique and classic boats.
"Boating is an activity that offers value far beyond the cost to participate and Michigan continues to be one of the finest boating states in the country," Ropp added. "With more than 11,000 inland lakes and more coastline than any other state in the nation, it is no surprise that Michigan has nearly 1 million registered boats on file."
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The American Boat Builders & Repairers Association, along with the Charleston City Boatyard, will be offering two courses on March 1 in Charleston, S.C.
A marine straddlelift training course is scheduled for the morning and a marine forklift training course will be available to operator training participants that afternoon.
"We're offering these training courses in March for ABBRA members and non-members," ABBRA president Doug Domenie said in a statement. "Our marine equipment operator training has always been a popular course and hosting it with the help of the Charleston City Boatyard is a great way to offer people convenient access to low-cost training."