This roundup of upcoming shows and events includes news from the Nashville Boat & Sportshow, the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, the Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail Miami and Cruisers University.
Attendance at the 2011 Nashville Boat & Sportshow, which ended Sunday, was up from the 2010 event, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which produces the show.
The NMMA said attendance was up 5 percent at its first show of the winter season. A total of 12,562 people attended the four-day event, which took place at the Nashville Convention Center.
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The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association will host a presentation from boating industry leaders and a state economic development executive about initiatives in the state and the industry and their effect on the state's economy.
Moderated by Mark Murphy, editor of the Providence Business News, the event will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Rhode Island Convention Center prior to the 4 p.m. opening of the Providence Boat Show.
With marine trades as one of its targeted industry sectors, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. oversees initiatives designed to create jobs, help companies expand and bring new economic activity to the state.
Through the marketing of the state's positive sales tax policy for boats, support for education and training programs and business loan programs, the economic development agency is creating an environment that bodes well for the marine industry.
The forum is open to anyone in the industry, business leaders from all sectors of the Rhode Island economy, educators and the press.
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A recent article from The New York Times, "To Every Bargain, A Season," reported that those ready to purchase a boat should consider doing so in the winter months, when the majority of boat shows are held across the country.
These include the Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail Miami, which take place Feb. 17-21, organizers said.
"Winter boat shows remain the best way to compare boats, features and prices, allowing the boater to board the boats they're considering and spend quality one-on-one time with numerous boat dealers on numerous boats," National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. "For those wanting to get up and running this summer, buying at a winter boat show from a trusted and respected dealer will help ensure their boat is ready to hit the water when boating season comes around."
In addition to thousands of boats and the newest marine accessories and gadgets for sale, the event will feature attractions and interactive educational opportunities for both new and experienced boaters.
These include the new Dive & Travel Harbor, featuring the "Be a Diver" scuba pool; the new Discover Boating Resource Center, a boating education experience offering free boat rides, on-the-water training courses and daily seminars; and appearances by "Deadliest Catch" TV star Russell Newberry, Zac Sunderland, the youngest person to sail around the world, and Chris Fischer of "Expedition Great White."
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United States Yacht Shows Inc., producer of the United States Sail and Powerboat shows, is launching a new event for aspiring and experienced cruisers: The first Cruisers University is set for May 12-15 at the Baltimore Inner Harbor Marine Center.
Billed as "The Ultimate Aid to Navigation," the program will provide expert instruction in a range of subjects pertinent to long-range cruising. Classes range from general cruising topics, such as crossing the Gulf Stream, proper provisioning and cruising with children, to master certification courses in diesel maintenance, weather forecasting and a comprehensive educational package called the seamanship series.
One unique aspect of Cruisers University is its interactivity, including a large in-water display of boats, both sail and power, outfitted with liveaboard cruising in mind. Participants will not only attend classes, but they also can become involved with learning through demonstrations of equipment and systems and by taking selected boats out for sea trials during the extended weekend.
The event's structure allows participants to choose from three programs, with tuition ranging from $450 for the four-day Masters Certification Program and the Seamanship Series to $160 for the one-day Introduction to Cruising Package.
For a daily admission fee of $15, consumers can see more than 150 sail and power cruising boats and 100 boating equipment exhibits.