Boat shows, depending on the location, vary in the types of vessels that are on display. Indoor shows are most often exclusive to trailered boats compared to those at marinas. Marina shows focuses heavily on yachts compared to cruisers. However, boats represented at the show are intended to pique the interest of buyers. When attending, it is important to understand boat show etiquette. Here is what you should and should not do at a boat show. 

Remove Your Shoes

A substantial amount of effort is put forward by the boat owner or manufacturer prior to a boat show. 

Unquestionably, the vessels are detailed so that they appear shiny and bright, thus becoming more appealing to a potential buyer. 

Improper footwear causes scuff marks that are challenging to remove. Considering all of the foot traffic on boats at shows, scuffs become prevalent. 

For this reason, I recommend removing your shoes unless they are boat shoes when boarding, no matter the size of the vessel. Your bare feet or socks won’t create more work for the sales representatives or yacht crew at the end of the day. 

Ask For Permission To Board

Importantly, boat shows are not a free-for-all. Never assume that you can freely board a boat without permission. 

When it comes to boat show etiquette, asking for permission to board tops the list. First, boats on trailers present a challenge to get aboard. Often, stairways need to be shuffled from boat to boat. Never drop the boarding ladder and climb aboard. 

Additionally, the sales representative is not going to welcome a multitude of people onboard at one time. Instead, they want the chance to have a conversation with a prospective buyer one-on-one. 

Lastly, asking for permission to board high-end vessels, including yachts, is a necessity. I am a former captain who was involved with showing yachts during shows. Understand that an unqualified buyer will not be allowed to board the vessel only for a look. In most cases, the buyer will have a broker who arranges the showing. 

Bring The Kids Along For The Day

No need to leave the kids with friends or family if you’re shopping for a new vessel. In fact, boat shows often have entertainment for people of all ages. 

Remember, cabin cruisers, center consoles, dual consoles, ski boats, and others are often utilized by families. 

With that being said, it is important to bring everyone in the family aboard a boat to determine if the layout is correct for your specific needs. Undoubtedly, this is essential when comparing two different boats that you’re deciding between. 

Don’t Waste The Boat Sales Representative’s Time

Look, a boat show is an excellent place to catch a glimpse of a wide variety of makes and models. However, understand the vast majority of people at a boat show have no intentions of buying. Instead, they are looking for a form of entertainment for the day. 

Remember, you don’t want to take up a sales representative’s time if you’re not actually considering buying. 

Without a doubt, the sales representative needs to focus on only those who are inquiring seriously. The sales representative’s goal is to convert the sale, and they can only do so by educating the buyer. Needless to say, don’t be an unnecessary distraction.  

Finish Your Food Before You Step On A Boat

Boats at a boat show are not a convenient place to take a seat and indulge in your next meal. Designated areas to sit and dine are available at boat shows. 

The last thing that a salesman needs is to clean up a mess on a boat that they are attempting to show and sell. 

I know that the seating on a boat may appear as a comfortable space, but it is not intended to unpack your lunch and dig in. 

Never Be Afraid To Ask Questions

Without question, if you have a serious interest in a vessel on display at a boat show, it is imperative to ask questions. 

The purpose of the show is to compare brands and models. For this reason, if you’re comparing two or three boats, gather as much information as you can on each. Importantly, becoming educated will help you make the most informed decision. 

I recommend coming into the show prepared. One of the best ways to prepare is to write out a list of questions so you don’t forget. Boat shows are busy places, so it is easy to become forgetful under pressure. 

Remember Boat Show Etiquette

The next time you visit a boat show, remember the dos and don’ts of boat show etiquette. It amazes me how clueless some people can be, especially when they are not interested in buying a vessel. Remember, the people working the show put in long hours and are highly knowledgeable about the boat they are trying to sell. For this reason, it is imperative to remain respectful of everyone’s efforts.