Skip to main content

Hoping for sun, but prepared for rain

Organizers of the big Newport show take steps to avoid last September’s flooding problems

Organizers of the big Newport show take steps to avoid last September’s flooding problems

Rain came down so hard on the opening day of last year’s Newport International Boat Show that large display tents flooded and show organizers scrambled, trying to track the weather. Show organizers this year have their fingers crossed in hopes of better weather.

“Great weather means we can pack this place with boaters from all over the Northeast,” says show director Nancy Piffard. “You can’t stop the rain, though, so we’ve taken some precautions this year to stop any potential flooding. We had an eight-inch wall built around the perimeter of the tent that gets the worst flooding. The wall deflects water around the tent instead of going directly into it. We will also platform certain areas that tend to flood with heavy rainfall.”

Whatever the weather, Piffard says she can’t wait to kick off the 2006 installment of the Newport International Boat Show (scheduled for Sept. 14 to 17) and is excited about the expansion of the Down East in-water area at Bowen’s Wharf.

“In Newport we have a limited amount of space to use, which makes obtaining more dock space and expanding the show very difficult,” she explains. “We had the demand for more boats and as far as we’re concerned that’s a great problem to have. I think people will enjoy the new Down East display.”

The show takes up 15 acres from the Newport Yachting Center to the Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina. In that space show organizers say there will be more than 800 exhibitors and more than 600 boats, both power and sail and ranging from 16 to 85 feet, on display.

“Boaters from Maine to New Jersey, from Canada and from all over the world come to this show,” Piffard says. “We want Newport to be the place that people come to buy a boat and where they launch it.”

In addition to seeing all the new boats and equipment, attendees will be able to take part in a number of demonstrations and seminars. Some seminar topics will include maritime weather forecasting and routing, GPS/chart plotter navigation and basic radar operation.

The 2006 show will also have what Piffard calls a “Focus on Fishing.” This special area will be hosted by Northeast Angling and will feature fishing boats, chairs, equipment and accessories. Another special feature will be the Captain Kids program for children ages five to 14 with activities in, on and under the water. “This is the first year we’ll have this program,” Piffard says. “Children are our future boat buyers. We hope to get them excited about being on the water and about boating.”

Piffard says she’s excited, too, about the thousands of people who she expects will turn out for the show. “I’m looking forward to seeing the masses,” she says. “Seeing everyone interested and happy is great. We’re all about bringing the buyers and the sellers together and that’s what we look to accomplish. We hope everyone has some fun on the water with their new boats.”

The show will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adult admission is $16 and children under 12 who are accompanied by an adult get in free. For information call (401) 846-1115 or go to .