The Rhode Island Boat Show, held May 4-5 in five venues throughout the state, drew 52 exhibitors and hundreds of boating enthusiasts to the waterfront. The show, which started as a homegrown industry effort, is maturing into an effective way to reach customers, organizers say.
"The set of goals we had for this year's event worked together beautifully," Rhode Island Marine Trades Association CEO Wendy Mackie said in a statement.
Organizers focused on a set of simple goals when staging this year's event: making it low-cost and easy for exhibitors to access; making it free to attendees; including on-the-water opportunities for those who wanted them; using low-cost communication; and drawing people to waterfront venues to showcase the boating lifestyle.
"This show is unique," show co-founder Ryan Miller of Latitude Yacht Brokerage said in a statement. "It's not inside a convention hall in the middle of winter.
Your boats are not penned in to a dock space the way they are at big shows, so you can do things you can't do at traditional shows. You can take your customer out for a test sail, let him turn on the engine and go for a demo ride, let their kids hang out on the docks or spend some one-on-one time."