Home Features Welcome to the Show

Welcome to the Show

by Kate Calamusa

It’s almost time: The 2023 Seattle Boat Show comes into port next month. The beloved Northwest event will fill almost every corner of Lumen Field Events Center and Bell Harbor Marina, and feature over 800 of the latest and greatest model vessels, almost 300 exhibitors, and 110 hours of informational seminars covering almost every aspect of the maritime pastime. A longtime hallmark of the show, these sessions have always been a popular draw amongst boaters looking to boost their knowledge—and this year, the offerings have been bulked up with a wide array of fresh seminar topics. (In fact, thanks to effort by the team at the Northwest Marine Trade Association, 25% of this year’s seminars are brand spankin’ new.) Here, dozen of the experts preparing for the show give NWY readers an exclusive sneak peek at their seminars, which focus on forward-reaching fields such as marine communications, electrical refits, hybrid propulsion systems, safety innovations, and more. Prep your calendars, then sit back and enjoy the show.


Electric & Hybrid Propulsion Systems: Range, Efficiency, and Peace Of Mind
February 4 @ 3 p.m.

[In a Nutshell] “Seattle Boat Works has been doing custom conversions from diesel to electric propulsion for over a decade,” states Wilken. “I will share my experience with boaters by going over the concepts of electric versus combustion systems, benefits of electric propulsion, types of and improvements in battery chemistry technology, and understanding hybrid systems.”
[Expert Resume]
“The seminar is based on real world installation examples I have done over the past 10 years as part of my business (Seattle Boat Works) that have given me an in-depth understanding of electric motors. I’m also a certified marine mechanic, accredited installer for several electric propulsion brands, USCG Captain, and a full-time, live-aboard boater myself. My own boat has been my home for 36 years!”
[Why Now]
“Boaters are often unaware that marine electric motors have been around for decades, from the state ferries to US Navy submarines. We often have to tell our customers we’re not inventing electric motors from scratch, just helping them put together a system from tried and true manufacturers that works for their boat and needs. The new thing is that the demand for electric and hybrid systems has gone through the roof, and LiPO4 batteries, which are safe for marine use and have become much cheaper, hold so much more power in a much smaller space. Overall this means there are more and more options for a range of boat sizes, and investing in an electric system doesn’t just have to be for the commercial boaters. Most boaters think electric propulsion is about saving the planet or a green option. While it can be, the real secret is that the benefits are in the improved experience and expense. Maintenance, clean-up, and noise reduction can be the most difficult parts of a boater’s experience, and electric or hybrid systems can solve so many of those problems.”


20 Favorite Boating Innovations
February 8 @ 1 p.m.

[In a Nutshell]
“Boating is a relatively safe sport, and most hazards can be controlled with proper equipment and training,” Pommert asserts. “I will discuss innovations in a variety of areas, including rescuing crew overboard, navigation, first aid afloat, fire safety, weather awareness, and emergency communications. The focus is not bleeding edge technology, but innovative tools proven effective by Pacific Northwest boaters.”
[Expert Resume]
Pommert has been a longtime safety advocate in the region.“I chair the US Sailing Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal Award Committee, a national award which recognizes a significant accomplishment in seamanship that has saved a life, and collects case studies in rescues for analysis by the US Sailing Safety-at-Sea Committee. As VP for Safety at Sea for The Sailing Foundation, I organize our annual hands-on Safety at Sea training in which lessons learned from recent incidents are shared. I’m an appointed member of the Washington State Boating Program Advisory Council, providing recommendations on ways to enhance boating safety across Washington. I’m also a very active instructor for several of the larger Pacific Northwest sailing and power-boating schools.”
[Why Now] “With inflation, many of us are looking for ways to safely enjoy boating on a budget. Several of these innovations help do just that,” she says in conclusion. “And some of my favorites are even free!”


Considerations for a State of the Art Electrical Refit of Your Boat
February 4 @ 6 p.m.

[In a Nutshell] Nancy Erley, an ocean sailor, and Jo Abeli, a marine electrician, will tackle the planning process and new technology available for upgrading your boat’s electrical system.  Collaborating on the electrical modernization of Erley’s 1982 Orca 38 Tethys, they share the choices they made and why. States Erley: “You will see how to weigh the many considerations to achieve a balanced and elegant refit of your boat. Bring questions!”
[Expert Resume] “As a boat owner for 47 years, I’ve [Erley] fixed numerous electrical problems during two circumnavigations. Now it’s time to modernize my boat’s electrical systems and I’m so pleased to work with Jo Abeli, an ABYC certified marine electrician, and just the right person to bring Tethys into the modern age. Jo has worked on projects ranging from full repowers of live-aboard yachts, to bonding systems on wooden fishing vessels, to programming app-integrated vessel monitoring and switching.”
[Why Now] “The innovations in marine electrical systems, batteries, and solar panels have moved at a quick pace—faster than most boat owner’s projects. This new generation of marine electricians have been trained on the latest systems and technologies, whether it’s lithium battery technology, Bluetooth enabled sensors, or solar panel options. The components we will be installing as part of Tethys’ upgrades have been around for several years, and many boat owners will be familiar with them or at least heard of them. What some vessel owners may not know is just how accessible and user friendly a lot of the technology has become, and how many options are out there. For example, improvements in monitoring of electrical systems via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth can provide a record of history and trends over time. This can be useful for boat owners to improve safety on board and maintain the parts they invested in, and they can be powerful troubleshooting tools for technicians.”


How to Work Re’BOAT’ly’: Advanced Internet for Entrepreneurs, Remote Workers & Digital Nomads
February 3 @ 6 p.m.
Internet Everywhere: Satellite Internet in the Pacific Northwest and Beyond
February 9 @ 4 p.m.
Everything You Need to Know about Starlink for Boats
February 11 @ 1 p.m.

[In a Nutshell] In the first of three seminars that Anderson offers over the course of the week, he offers his best tips for sailors seeking to work ‘reboatly’: “This particular seminar is for business owners, entrepreneurs, remote workers, and digital nomads who need the internet for their income. We will discuss how to combine Wi-Fi, cellular, and satellite technologies into a single reliable internet connection for phone calls, video conferencing, web browsing, and other business needs. Their clients will never know they are on a boat!”
            Mid-week, he tackles the more specific aspects of satellite connections available to boaters while cruising the Pacific Northwest waters: “This high level seminar covers the satellite options available today and in the future, including Starlink, as well as how the region, geography, and vessel itself affect the performance of each option,” he says. “We will place special emphasis on the latest options for the U.S. West Coast, the Inside Passage, Southeast Alaska, and Mexico, as well as global options for the intrepid explorers in our midst.”
            And finally, Anderson tackles arguably the industry’s buzziest new tech for his last seminar: “It covers everything you ever wanted to know about Starlink and its use on boats—how it works, where it works, what is costs, differences between plans and hardware models, how to power it, how to mount it, limitations, risks, and how to enhance the reliability of the service with additional hardware. All of my clients are asking about it, wanting to know if they should get it, which version to get, how it works, and what else they need. It’s a very hot topic!”
[Expert Resume] “I have 20 years of corporate IT and IT sales experience, including satellite networking, prior to quitting my old job and going cruising on a sailboat with my family. We actually ran three businesses remotely from the boat using a variety of Wi-Fi, cellular, and satellite technologies.”
[Why Now] “Since Covid started so many people have chosen to change their lives, get out of traditional office work or jobs, and travel or live aboard boats (as well as RVs, and et cetera).  But these same boaters need some of the traditional things we take for granted at home like reliable internet. Many new boaters are also not retired and still need to work to support their families and their new lifestyle. It’s possible to create a reliable office-like connection to conduct business from practically anywhere and continue to generate income even when you aren’t in your office.”


Beyond YouTube: Lessons Learned from 400,00000 Miles
February 4 @ 2 p.m.

[In a Nutshell] John Neal sailed from Seattle on a Vega 27 in 1974 and has never looked back. “If you’ve gotten the adventure bug from watching YouTube sailing channels, this seminar shows you how to get from dreaming to experiencing your own blue water sailing adventure,” he says. “Here, learn how to find, purchase, and outfit a boat, how to qualify for insurance and how to sail it safely anywhere in the world.”
[Expert Resume] “I’ve sailed the equivalent of 16 times around the world and helped more than 11,000 people achieve their own dreams of worldwide sailing adventures.”
[Why Now] “This seminar is cutting edge because since Covid there are thousands of people dying to get on their own boats and sail off into the sunset. I cover all of the latest developments in gear and electrical systems. Plus, a detailed two-page checklist is included, and a 270-page textbook is available.”


Bluewater Cruising Now Panel: Trends, Revolutionary Gear, and Timeless Tips

February 4 @ 11 a.m.
South to Mexico & West to Australia
February 5 @ 1 p.m.
Self Steering Windvanes: Your Best Crew Member
February 4 @ 1 p.m.

[In a Nutshell] The Currys will help lead a Saturday panel that features experienced cruisers, including John Neal: “We love to talk about the incredible world of cruising: what’s better than traveling the ocean with your home? We chat about boat and passage planning, sailing trends, offshore gear, and timeless tips for life at sea. The passage down the Washington/Oregon coast can be a first and intimidating one for many. We share options for safe passages south to Mexico, and inspiration for making the decision to go… and go further.” 
[Expert Resume] “We hatched a plan to sail to the South Pacific on our very first date. During our years of planning and saving, I [Sarah Curry] listened to every cruising seminar at the Seattle Boat Show… multiple years in a row!  Since setting off from the Pacific Northwest in 2013 we’ve owned three sailboats, had countless experiences, and made a mistake or ten. Our current adventure (with our growing crew, 3½ -year-old twin boys) has us starting a little further east: a catamaran in Greece.” 
[Why Now]
“The year 2023 is being defined by the obtainability of cruising as a lifestyle. You don’t have to have the perfect boat. You don’t have to leave a career at home; perhaps you work remotely (Starlink is the biggest technical innovation in years). The trend that has been flourishing is an attitude thing—young cruisers (and the young at heart) are inspired to see the world and are taking the ocean by storm. It’s a beautiful and exciting way to live and there’s a huge community of like-minded sailors waiting to welcome you. Our seminars are not all fluffy.  We understand the seriousness of sailing offshore, and present about self-steering systems and emergency steering too.”


Pros & Cons of Boating Apps: Using Tablets & Smartphones Underway
February 5 @ 12 p.m.

Says Rodriguez: “In 20 years of professional time spent on waters from Mexico to Alaska, I have gone from charting on paper to electronics, as nowadays you will get more relevant information from your portable device. Though old rituals are hard to move away from, this one is pertinent as NOAA no longer supports paper charts and by 2024 will eliminate the Raster database entirely.”

All You Need To Know About Drop-In Lithium Batteries
February 9 @ 2 p.m.
“Lithium batteries are the latest buzz word and for good reason, the benefits are great and they are quickly becoming mainstream onboard cruising vessels. However, there are a lot of options and considerations when switching to lithium.”      

Green Technology is a Game Changer: Sailing Offshore & the Coho Ho Ho

February 8 @ 5 p.m.
With an assist from daughter Devon, Lombard recounts sailing a Hans Christian Christina 43 for 21 days from Honolulu to Seattle with help from solar panels, lithium ion batteries, water maker, Windvane steering, weather routing, and satellite communication.

Running Your Boat With Confidence: Relax And Have Fun!

February 11 @ 3 p.m.

Drawing on a long career in the industry, MacLachlan’s chat will empower beginning boaters:“People usually buy a boat to relax and have fun. Yet it’s human nature to feel anxiety creep in when faced with uncertainty. We’ll discuss ways to help filter out all the clutter and break down into easy steps what boaters really need to know to become empowered to safely operate their new boat!”


February 6 @ 3 & 4 p.m.

Geared toward women who might be new to sailing, Hinman will lead a panel of women sailors with various levels of experience revealing how they evolved into the confident sailors they’ve become. “We’ll share our experiences, what helped, and what didn’t in our learning process, and allow some time for Q & A.”


Plan ahead and snap up the $99 seminar package which entitles you to a multi-day pass to the show and access to all of the seminars both live at the show and online after for 90 days. (With the $119 package you’ll also receive a 2023 Waggoner’s Cruising Guide.) For the most current details and a complete roster of this year’s Seattle Boat Show seminars, which include boating and fishing options, plus Boat Show University, as well as general information on the full event that runs from February 3-11, go to: seattleboatshow.com

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