Even Bigger: Seattle Boat Show 2018

Greg Van Belle Nautical News

Northwest boaters have the Seattle Boat Show to brighten up the dark winter months, and the annual show is getting bigger and brighter. In fact, the 2018 Seattle Boat Show promises to be the biggest yet. Already the largest show on the West Coast, the addition of a third venue means more boats, more exhibitors, and more vendors than ever before. If there is a theme for the 2018 show, it is “more.”

Along with the usual South Lake Union and CenturyLink Field spaces, Bell Harbor Marina joins the show, providing space for even more yachts on the water. The addition of Bell Harbor also comes with more parking. Spaces at the Bell Street Parking Garage will be free with the purchase of a ticket, and free shuttles will move attendees between the venues.

There are also more boats. Over 1,000 boats will be available for viewing and buying at all three locations, many with deep boat show discounts. Elan Yachts, Bavaria Motorboats, Solas Boats, and Port Townsend-based ACI Aluminum Boats are all exhibiting at the show for the first time. Expect large yachts and sailboats at the two afloat locations, and more trailerable boats inside the CenturyLink space.

Aside from wandering from boat to boat and dreaming about the next season’s adventures, the highlight of the Seattle Boat Show has to be the seminars and classes that cover every topic a boater could want. More than a dozen new fishing-specific sessions are planned, in addition to seminars and workshops on electronics, navigation, weather, technology, boat repair, and communications. These seminars are run by experts from the industry and are invaluable to the curious boater.

Attendees coming from out of town now have more accommodations choices. There are hotel deals from the Courtyard Pioneer Square, Crowne Plaza Seattle, Silver Cloud Hotel Stadium, Marriott Residence Inn, Marriott Courtyard, and the Silver Cloud Lake Union. Even local boaters might be tempted to reserve a room and spend a couple of days shopping the expanded show.

One of the things the Seattle Boat Show prides itself on is being fun for the whole family. There is a special Kids Zone at the indoor location at CenturyLink Field Event Center, with free activities for kids of all ages. At South Lake Union, there will be free boat rides and a continuation of the now-famous chowder cook-off.

Best of all, there are more exhibitors and vendors than ever, so get ready to shop and talk to experts from local companies, marinas, charter operators, marine service providers, and more. Many vendors offer generous boat show discounts, giveaways, and contests, and the show is a rare opportunity to talk directly to manufacturers and their representatives for firsthand advice and technical information. Northwest Yachting will be there, too, so stop in, say hi, and grab a copy of the latest issue of the magazine.

Finally, there will be more ticket buying options this year, with packages including parking and flexible attendance dates. To get the most out of the expanded event, plan to attend more than one day. This year’s event runs from January 26 to February 3 at all three locations. Complete details can be found at seattleboatshow.com. Tickets are on sale December 1.

Greg Van Belle

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Greg Van Belle grew up sailing, cruising, and fishing Puget Sound. He lives in Seattle and teaches writing at Edmonds Community College. You can follow him on Twitter @gregvanbelle.

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