You don’t even have to set foot in Mobile Boat Show 2020 to know the industry is having a hot year: Boats on display outside the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center have spread out onto adjacent land that usually remains empty during the show. .
“We have a ton more boats outside,” said Melissa Miller, one of the show’s organizers.
Miller spoke hours before the show opened at noon on Friday. The event takes place Friday through Sunday, March 6-8. Saturday coincides with another major downtown event, the American Cancer Society’s Chili Cook-Off; visitors wearing a Cook-Off wristband can get $2 off their boat show admission.
Miller said the industry is still riding the trend of people buying bigger boats with more upscale features, especially center console fishing boats.
“They’re selling like crazy,” she said of the center console market. “I’ve seen more boats over 30ft here than I’ve ever seen before.”
Miller said everyone expects one of the stars of the show to be a Valhalla Boatworks V33. It’s not the biggest center console in the living room, and with list prices of $313,000 to $330,000, it’s far from the most expensive. But Valhalla is a brand new range launched in 2019 by Viking Yachts, representing this premium builder’s entry into the premium center console market.
For many visitors to the show, this will be the first opportunity to see one.
Show times are noon to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Adult admission is $10; children 15 and under are admitted free.
According to information provided by organizers, the show features dealerships from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana and “more than 100 vendor booths offering resources for on-site financing, electronics, l marine audio, boat lifts, fishing gear, towers, motors, trailers, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, fishing guides, clothing, tackle and more.”
Other features include “Guides Corner” seminars; the Fetch-N-Fish show featuring Labrador retrievers diving into a 4,000 gallon tub; Alabama’s marine resource exhibits include touch tanks filled with live animals from local waters; a Kids Fishing 101 program at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; and a trout pond to benefit Camp Rap A Hope.
For more information, including the schedule of special events, visit www.gulfcoastshows.com.