Cleveland Boat Show & Fishing Expo Goes Digital


The 64th annual Cleveland Boat Show & Fishing Expo is moving full speed ahead, albeit in a digital format. Meanwhile, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida virtually promoted marine industry careers.

Taking a cue from the Northwest Marine Trade Association’s successful pilot digital show for its annual Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show last June, the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association will bring it’s 2021 Cleveland show to Ohio’s computer screens.

“In January, we will take Ohio’s oldest and largest boat show into the homes of our state’s half-million-plus registered boat-owning families,” announced Michelle Burke, LEMTA president. “We’ve told our state’s boaters that forgoing our popular in-person exposition is in line with our industry’s other major winter shows that have an overriding concern for the safety and well-being of all boating families and exhibitors. So, we’re going to present the latest in boats and equipment in a new and exciting way.”

The new online format will include virtual visits to dealerships, walkthrough tours of selected boats and equipment, and even direct conversations with salespersons.

Concurrent with the planned 10-day virtual show — double Cleveland’s normal 5-day schedule — participating dealers from across northern Ohio will also be staging special in-showroom events, hours and activities.

“Mirroring our normal in-person show,” Burke explained, “we’ll continue our extensive digital and traditional media advertising for the online event to drive people first to the virtual show, and then into our dealer’s showrooms.”

Just as in the in-person show, a key component of the new digital show will include emphasis on the traditional January message that boat buyers can enjoy special dealer discounts and manufacturer-backed sales incentives on new boats and equipment during the show.

“Our dealer members recognize there’s a big saving in costs by not exhibiting in a live show this January,” says Burke, “and they see a need to reallocate some of that money to marketing in the critical January time frame.”

MIASF reaches out to youth

Kudos to MIASF for its outreach to area youth promoting the many career opportunities in the area’s extensive list of marine businesses.

Partnering with HANDY, an area non-profit organization that has long served more than 50,000 Broward County youth, MIASF’s digital media and outreach coordinator, Megan Piggott, keynoted with an overview of the marine industry, then moderated a panel of industry leaders.

More than 70 people, from age 12 to 25, virtually participated from three different HANDY sites. The panelists spoke about their pathways and experiences, their careers, and advice they would give to the young people embarking on their careers.

As part of the program, the three participating youth groups were then challenged to create a commercial that would “sell the viewers” on a career in the marine industry. The commercials were reviewed by MIASF’s Education and Workforce Committee leaders judging creativity, industry knowledge and persuasion. The winning commercial came from HANDY’s Wells Center location and the participants earned a well-deserved special dinner delivered to their site.

A tip-of-the-cap to the MIASF panelists including: Erena Fridman, yacht service technician apprentice with Derecktor; Ionna Hernandez, business development manager of International Registries, Inc.; and Richard Grennen, CEO/president of FHG Marine Engineering.

The HANDY LIFE Program focuses on education, youth development, and economic self-sufficiency through activities such as mentoring, emergency needs assistance, educational workshops and support, and life skills training. 


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