This year’s Wilmington Boat Show is experiencing an “unprecedented” peak in boat sales over the past year, according to show founder Jacqui McGuinness, who predicts a high level of enthusiasm for boating. Data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association showed that retail unit sales of new powerboats increased 24% year-over-year to May 2021. Presales of production boats remain strong.
Unlike last year’s show, which took place at Port City Marina, Pier 33 and Battleship North Carolina in addition to the Convention Center, this weekend’s event will be held entirely on dry land. . The boats will be on display in the convention center and along portions of Front and Nutt streets near the convention center. Parking is available on the parking decks, including the convention center bridge. It is also available at Battleship North Carolina, with free water taxi service from the show to the battleship site.
The “incredible” demand for boat launching and construction ramps in and around the marina meant the lounge did not have access to that area this year, the JBM & Associates website said.
While there are fewer boats for attendees to inspect, there will be plenty of opportunities to learn about trends and see new models, McGuinness said in a press release. In a phone conversation on Monday, she added that the boat inventory is currently limited due to high demand and supply chain issues that have slowed production.
Nevertheless, “The show will offer nautical enthusiasts the opportunity to discuss with experts and compare boat brands,” she added. “While we don’t have the same number of boats as in years past, there will still be strong representation and people can get a head start for next year’s boating season. “
McGuinness predicts that up to 7,500 people will attend this year’s show, given the great interest in boating and sport fishing and the optimistic weather forecast. Previous Wilmington boat shows have drawn as many as 12,000 people and – in the midst of a pandemic last year – as few as around 4,000. The 2019 show had to be canceled due to Hurricane Dorian, a- she declared.
Featured at this year’s boat show: a series of clinics, a release activity and a throwing game. The clinics cover topics such as inshore saltwater fishing, women on the water, boat maintenance, and basic boat safety. There will be food trucks and blues and American roots musician Randy McQuay will perform on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and again on Sunday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Catch and release activities take place on the three day show at Carolina Catch, a special fishing pond located in the Wilson parking lot at Cape Fear Community College. It is also the site of the bass casting game which takes place Friday and Sunday. The North Carolina Wildlife Commission will also be present.
The hours of operation for the Wilmington Boat Show are noon to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For information and tickets, click here.
JBM & Associates also produces the Charleston Boat Show, the Savannah Boat Show, and the Charleston In-Water Boat Show.
NOTE: This version of the story corrects the boat show activity on the Battleship North Carolina site and adds a show producer attendance forecast.