Waterside Wilmington Boat Show heads to port on Friday


The Wilmington Boat Show will cruise downtown on Friday and offer three days of information and activities at the Wilmington Convention Center. The show, which debuted in 2016, is operated by JBM & Associates, based in Charleston, South Carolina.

This year’s Wilmington Boat Show is riding an ‘unprecedented’ peak in boat sales over the past year, according to show founder Jacqui McGuinness, who predicts a high level of boating enthusiasm . Data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association showed retail unit sales of new powerboats rose 24% year-over-year to May 2021. Pre-sales of boats in production remain strong.


Unlike last year’s show, which took place at the Port City Marina, Pier 33 and Battleship North Carolina in addition to the convention center, this weekend’s event will take place entirely on land. closed. Boats will be on display in the convention center and along portions of Front and Nutt streets near the convention center. Parking is available at the parking decks, including the convention center deck. It is also available at Battleship North Carolina, with free water taxi service from the show to the Battleship site.

“Incredible” demand for marina boat ramps and construction in and around the marina meant the show did not have access to this area this year, the JBM website said. & Associates.

While there will be fewer craft for attendees to inspect, there will be plenty of opportunities to learn about trends and see new designs, McGuinness said in a news release. In a phone conversation on Monday, she added that boat inventory is currently limited due to high demand and supply chain issues that have slowed production.


Nevertheless, “the show will offer boating enthusiasts the opportunity to interact with experts and compare boat brands”, she added. “Although we won’t have the same number of boats as in the past, there will still be strong representation and people can get a head start for next year’s boating season.

McGuinness expects up to 7,500 people to 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 full pandemic mode last year – as few as around 4,000. The 2019 show had to be canceled due to Hurricane Dorian, a she declared.


On the program for 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 all three days of the show at Carolina Catch, a special fishing pond set up in the parking lot of Cape Fear Community College Wilson. It is also the site of the bass casting game which takes place on Friday and Sunday. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will also be on hand.

Hours of operation for the Wilmington Boat Show are 12 p.m. 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 boat show activity on the Battleship North Carolina site and adds an attendance forecast from the show producer.

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