The 2016-17 boat show season kicks off September 15-17 along America’s Cup Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island, at the 46th Annual Newport International Boat Show (NIBS). This year’s education series has been greatly expanded from previous years with courses, seminars and demonstrations that offer showgoers multiple learning options in addition to new boat debuts ranging from 15 to 85 feet and thousands of boating products and marine gear. “Every year we aim to expand and diversify our education programs at the show,” says Nancy Piffard, show director at Newport Exhibition Group in a press release. “By partnering with industry publications and associations, we are able to offer more courses and seminars that are of interest to our attendees.”
Course providers include Confident Captain, one of the largest powerboat and sailboat training groups in the country. Their hands-on powerboat courses include Become a Power Boater, Powerboat Docking and Maneuvering, Advanced and Twin-Engine Powerboat Docking and Maneuvering, and new for this year, Joystick Controls and Piloting, a Beginner Women-Only Powerboating course, and Youth Powerboating Outreach. For sailboat owners, courses include First Sail for beginners, Sailboat Docking and Close Quarters Maneuvering, Advanced Sailboat Handling and Sail Trim (includes spinnaker work), and Sailboat Crew/First Mate Skills. To learn more or to register for the Confident Captain At The Helm program visit newportboatshow.com/newport-boat-show-exhibitors/at-the-helm.htm.
Returning again this year is CruiserPort University, with seminars presented at the Newport Blues Café located across the street from the show entrance. Presenters include author and researcher Nigel Calder, Jeremy Davis, Peter Swanson, Bob Sweet, Kim Russo, naval architect Lou Codega, and Paul Comyns.
History buffs attending the show, especially those interested in the history of wooden boat building, will enjoy the hour-long film Wood, Sails, Dreams at the Jane Pickens Theater located just outside the show grounds on Saturday, September 17th at 7:00PM. The film by Joe Stanton—he’ll be available for questions following the screening—explores the resurgence of wooden boats, the restoration of American maritime history and the lessons to be learned from the ancient craft of traditional boat building. Tickets are available at janepickens.com/coming-attractions.
Now in its 11th season, the 2016 Newport for New Products (NFNP) recognizes the best new powerboat, sailboat and multihull, best new navigation product, and best new product for boat operation, maintenance, and safety. NFNP is open to all products launched after April 1, 2016, making their official boat show debut at the Newport show. (Foreign boats and products that have been shown and sold outside the U.S. are still eligible.) Entries are judged by marine industry experts on the basis of innovation, value to the consumer, safety, and aesthetics, with awards presented on Friday morning, September 16th at the Industry Awards/Press Breakfast. “Manufacturers from around the world see the Newport International Boat Show as the ideal venue to unveil new products to the North American market,” Piffard adds. “Our show attracts visitors who want to view a diverse selection of powerboats, sailboats and marine products on display. Exhibitors recognize the show is perfectly timed to present their latest boats and products to a truly discerning audience.”
Each year, the Newport Exhibition Group, owners and producers of the boat show, partner with both a charitable and environmental organization. For 2016, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Leukemia Cup Regatta is the official Charitable Partner and Sailors for the Sea is the Environmental Partner. Both nonprofit organizations receive complimentary exhibit space at the event. “Both of these wonderful organizations have linked the love of boating to their very vital missions,” Piffard explains. “Finding a cure for cancer and ocean conservation are two causes that are very close to the Newport Exhibition Group. We are thrilled to support The Leukemia Cup Regatta and Sailors for the Sea at the Newport International Boat Show this year.”
Though showgoers will find a myriad of sights within the showgrounds, first-time visitors will enjoy the numerous scenic landmarks in the historical New England town during this beautiful season. The Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile-long walk along Newport’s eastern shore that provides a glimpse of Gilded Age-era mansions. If lack of time or stamina precludes you from walking, drive the well-marked route instead. cliffwalk.com
After your invigorating walk, delectable seafood abounds at Scales & Shells (scalesandshells.com) on Thames Street. Walk a half-mile to Smoke House (smokehousecafe.com) on America’s Cup Avenue for barbecue and late summer cocktails. For beef and wine lovers, take a three-minute stroll over to 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille (22bowens.com) downtown. Bowen’s Wharf is a hub for shopping and eating and claims to offer some of the freshest seafood in New England.
Boat Show Dates & Hours:
•Thursday, Friday & Saturday, September 15th, 16th & 17th: 10AM to 6PM
•Sunday, September 18th: 10AM to 5PM