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Atlantic City boat show sails into port

The 30th edition of the show distinguishes itself with sail, fishing elements

The Atlantic City International Power Boat Show in New Jersey will welcome something new to its 30th annual show: sailboats.

The show, which will take place Feb. 3-7 at the Atlantic City Convention Center, will have a good representation of sportfishing boats such as EdgeWater, Grady-White and Boston Whaler, says show manager Jon Pritko. The show will also feature for the first time sailboats from the Beneteau, Jeanneau, Catalina and Com-Pac lines.

"We are very excited to have a sail presence," says Pritko who is also manager of the New York Boat Show. "We try to make every show unique; we're not taking a cookie-cutter approach. There's a decent amount of fishing in the New Jersey area whereas in the New York City area you see a lot more go-fast boats and cruisers, so we keep that in mind when planning the show."

The National Marine Manufacturers Association bought the show eight years ago and Pritko has been the show manager for five years.

The Affordability Pavilion will be making its return with a selection of boats from sportfishermen to personal watercraft that can be financed for less than $250 a month.

Other new features include a fish fry from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday to allow people to sample many of the area's local species. Anglers will also get the chance to share their best stories on the water with the "Fish Tales" contest. The person with the best story will win a Lowrance HDS-7 fishfinder and chart plotter worth $999 as well as a $500 gift certificate from Global Fish Mounts, says Pritko. The contest will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

New for kids this year will be a nature museum display presented by the Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy based in New York Harbor, which will feature a pirate ship's hull design that has interactive exhibits to help kids learn about the wildlife of oceans and estuaries.

"We are trying to make the experience of the show more family-friendly - we have also eliminated the admission for kids 15 and under to get them involved with boating as early as possible," says Pritko.

"We want people to come to the show and have a good time and expose people to the boating lifestyle."

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This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters Section of the March 2010 issue.