All great advice so far.
The show is so big that it is easy to be overwhelmed with all the boats, bits, bikes, biminis and bunches of people. It is best to prioritize before you get to the show so that you can make the show produce real value for you.
Looking for your first boat or a serious upgrade from your current
one? You will probably spend most of your time looking at boats, climbing all over and poking into the lockers, etc. This is the great reason to have a camera. Take a minimum of 2 - 5 standard pictures of each boat. I always liked to take one from the helm
looking forward, one from the front of the cockpit
looking back toward the helm
, one down below looking forward (include the galley) and then from the bow looking backward. A final picture of the tallest person in the owner's berth completes it. The pictures give you a good way to start sorting out your impressions.
If you are a monohuller, break the mold
a bit and take a look at some of the multihulls. If you are a multihuller, stop and see some of the innovation going on with monos.
Especially if you are a first-time boat buyer, beware of the boats that seem sooo comfy at the dock
. They might not perform that well at sea.
If you already have a boat, then you will probably spend most of your time in the tents looking at all the various gadgets. Again, a little prep is helpful. What are the top ten(?) items you want to see? The competing vendors might be scattered all over the show, so planning in advance can make the best use of your time.
Don't forget the Cruising World seminars. They are always a great intro into the aspects of boating
that are important to you, plus, you might get a chance to speak directly to some wonderful folks who have been "out there".
I always preferred to sit down at the Fleet Reserve Club with a cold beer
and a pit beef sandwich. A lot of vendors take their breaks there, and it can be a cool place to strike up a conversation that leads to unexpected benefits.
As an aside for Sun Goddezz. I would love to meet you, because anyone who can make it from DC to Baltimore in 30 minutes could ONLY be a Goddess!
- or you would have to be part of a caravan made up of black, bullet-proof limos/Suburbans
BOTTOM LINE: A great show that will call you back again and again!