by Cynthia Goss
If you're on the port hand side of the Atlantic, here's something you may want to think about attending. Following a long winter, Rhode Island marine companies are opening their doors in a big way by hosting a free, one-of-a-kind boating event designed to jump-start the arrival of summer. The Rhode Island Boat Show takes place the weekend of May 3-4 in four coastal venues and features boats, experts, and activities for all ages both on and off the water.
Rhode Island Boat Show
'Early May is the perfect time to travel the coast and see the boats on the market for the coming season,' said Jonathan Banks of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA), which manages the show. 'Experienced boaters, families, even those who’ve never stepped foot on a boat before can see the fleet of sail and powerboats, have fun skill-building on the water, and spend quality time with experts who can help boaters make the right buying decisions.'
The Rhode Island Boat Show includes venues in Bristol, Jamestown, Wakefield and Warwick. Now in its fourth year, organizers have added new attractions to expand the appeal of this statewide happening. Out-of-state visitors can also use the event as an easy way to explore the Ocean State as a boating destination, including its no-sales-tax policy on boats and boating services.
Captain Ralph Wilkins—featured on the National Geographic Channel reality TV series Wicked Tuna—will be a star attraction at the Warwick and Wakefield venues on Saturday, and in Jamestown on Sunday morning. A rod and reel fisherman who braves the rugged waters of the North Atlantic to chase the elusive bluefin tuna, Captain Ralph is coming to the show to meet attendees, talk about his gear and technique, and share his experiences as a fisherman whose livelihood depends on his catch.
On-water clinics with professional instructors will be held throughout the weekend at two venues. The sixty-minute, hands-on sessions are geared towards individuals looking for an introduction to sailing or powerboating, as well as those who want to sharpen their docking and maneuvering skills. Showgoers interested in honing their sailing skill should head to Jamestown to set sail with instructors from Narragansett Sailing. Confident Captain will run a series of powerboating clinics at the Warwick venue on boats provided by the Freedom Boat Club. Clinics are $25 and pre-registration is required.
This year’s show will feature its 1st Marine Consignment Weekend, organized by Salty Dog Marine Supply at the Bristol venue. Many boaters have gear and equipment they no longer need or use, and other boaters are happy to purchase that gear at discounted prices. Boaters with marine gear to sell can deliver it to Salty Dog Marine Supply so it can be sold during the weekend. The consignment section of the show is expected to be a valuable feature for both sellers and buyers.
Other attractions include a chance to try surfing on dry land on a SURFSET board, a total-body surf trainer designed to simulate the physical demands of surfing; an opportunity to see amphibious technology from Sealegs that transforms a powerful all-terrain vehicle into a high-speed powerboat; a chance to meet young boatbuilders from Tiverton High School, see their latest projects, and participate in fun attractions for young mariners; and knot-tying lessons for all ages with the Sea Scouts.
The Rhode Island Boat Show takes place May 3-4 from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission and parking are free. The show’s venues include: Bristol (Bristol Marine, 99 Poppasquash Road); Jamestown (Conanicut Marine Services, 1 East Ferry Wharf); Wakefield (Silver Spring Marine, 362 Pond Street); and Warwick (Brewer Greenwich Bay Marina, 1 Masthead Drive).
For more information, visit the show’s website, call 401-396-9619, or connect with the show via its Facebook page.
Space in the powerboating and sailing clinics is limited; showgoers will find advance registration information at the boat show’s website, along with more details on Marine Consignment Weekend.