45th Annual Newport International Boat Show

It started off as a bold idea 45 years ago—an in-the-water boat show, one of the first to be held in the Northeast. Today, the brainchild of visionary former naval officer Paul Dodson is among the most celebrated venues for boat enthusiasts in the U.S. and kicks off the east coast boat show season. Scores of vessels, sailboats and powerboats from small crafts to 100 footers along with thousands of products and accessories are due to delight visitors in the City by the Sea.

The Newport International Boat Show (NIBS) is set to take over more than 13 acres of historic Newport Harbor September 17-19. “[We’re looking forward to] delivering a great experience for exhibitors and attendees by bringing in prospective buyers and having even more brands and models of powerboats, sailboats and innovative products on display for all,” says Nancy Piffard director of the Newport Exhibition Group, which owns NIBS.

More than 600 domestic and international exhibitors will showcase and sell their products and services, while never-before-seen boats will make their debut. “All of the ‘Newport For New Product’ entries are a must-see,” says Piffard of the popular program that gives attendees a chance to vote for vessels and marine products being launched this year in the U.S. market between April 1st and September 1st. (International products making their first official appearance in the U.S. at NIBS can also participate.) “Last year people swarmed the docks to see the new Gunboat 55, the 34 Outboard Express from True North and B&G’s ForwardScan sonar as well as dozens of other innovative products. This year we will have even more!”

NIBS is partnering for a second year with Confident Captain/Ocean Pros for yet another exciting “At The Helm” program to provide sailors and powerboaters of all experience levels the opportunity to take to the water. New shore-based courses—iPad Navigation and Boat Systems to be held in the Confident Captain/Safe-Sea Mobile Seamanship Lab at the show site—will add to the existing six classes available for powerboat and sailing. The program includes Powerboat Docking and Maneuvering, Advanced & Twin Engine Powerboat, Become a Power Boater, Advanced Sailboat Handling and Sail Trim, Sailboat Docking and Close Quarters Maneuvering, and Sailboat Crew/First-Mate Skills. Online pre-registration is required.

The Educational Seminar Series is also back this year and set to take place at Forty 1° North Marina Resort located within walking distance of the show. “After a hiatus of offering seminars last year, we have brought back a lineup of exciting speakers and topics,” says Piffard (the seminar schedule was not available at press time). Salty Dawg Rally—a non-profit organization with an emphasis on safety, communication and camaraderie—will host its own Seminar Series on September 16th at the Edward King House. Running from 9AM to 4PM, the seminars will cover topics such as blue water passage preparations, selection and care of emergency equipment, getting to know your steering and pump systems, and more. saltydawgrally.org

NIBS selected Clean Ocean Access as its 2015 charity partner. The organization, which conducts marine debris removal efforts, water quality monitoring and safeguards public access, focuses on the restoration and protection of natural resources. “Clean Ocean Access does such important work eliminating marine debris for the shoreline and improving overall ocean health—a task every boater should embrace,” says Piffard. “This partnership gives us the opportunity to remind the tens of thousands of people who attend our show that if all of us do seemingly small things locally, we can make a big difference globally.”

More than a boat show, NIBS is a destination event. “Newport is the quintessential New England seacoast town with great shops, award-winning restaurants, a vibrant night life, and many historic attractions,” says Piffard before adding, “[it’s] a venue that is unparalleled.” Southern Boating thinks so too—come and see us at the NYC Tent C, booth 60. newportboatshow.com

By Nathalie Gouillou, Southern Boating Magazine August 2015