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President's Report
July 2017

I’m fired up! And so is our staff, Board and Boat Show Committee. We’re fired up because we have a unique opportunity to grow the Seattle Boat Show and make it a premier destination event by expanding to the Port of Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina on the Seattle waterfront. The marina is just minutes north of CenturyLink Field & Event Center by bus, or an easy walk that includes the ferry terminal, aquarium, Great Wheel and boatloads of tremendous hotels and restaurants.

Five years ago, I attended a presentation at Seattle Rotary by the CEO of Ivar’s Restaurants that showed the vision for the Seattle waterfront (Ivar’s has a restaurant on the waterfront and at CenturyLink Field). The grand plan to transform our waterfront by reconnecting it to the city includes removing the viaduct, a new tunnel for Highway 99, and a new pedestrian-friendly boulevard on Alaskan Way. Railroad Avenue which ends literally at the 50-yard line of CenturyLink Field will become a direct pedestrian walkway to the waterfront.

From the SODO stadium district to Bell Harbor Marina, the Seattle waterfront is going to be spectacular. It occurred to me during this presentation that our Seattle Boat Show would have the opportunity to become the most exciting and talked about event on the waterfront every January. This week, Seattle is buzzing about the grand opening of the world famous Pike Place Market expansion that will ultimately connect directly to the waterfront. I think the Seattle media will be just as excited about our expansion in January.

The seawall construction and traffic over the last two years has been a challenge for moving boats in and out of CenturyLink Field & Event Center and at times has left me wondering if it was all worth it. In some cases, our largest boats headed for CenturyLink Field & Event Center literally made it to the stadium with only inches to spare as they snaked their way through the construction on Alaskan Way and under the viaduct. With Bertha’s successful reappearance at the north end of the Highway 99 tunnel, the seawall construction is now complete, and the waterfront is changing fast.

Bell Harbor Marina is ready to accommodate us with protected, modern moorage for 70 boats from trailerable to superyachts. Here is a LINK to a brochure with details about Bell Harbor Marina.  There is 50 amp and 30 amp electrical service on every dock to keep the boats and attendees warm and dry in January. Bell Harbor Marina is operated by the Port of Seattle, a longtime NMTA member and an entity we have worked closely with for many events with trust and confidence. In addition to the marina, the Port of Seattle also owns a parking garage directly across Alaskan Way with 1,500 desperately needed parking spaces for show attendees and a possible parking promotion.

NMTA will continue to partner with the Northwest Yacht Brokers Association (NYBA) who own and produce the South Lake Union location in January and the September Boats Afloat Show at South Lake Union. Since 2005, we have promoted “one ticket – two locations” and we hope to continue to keep the message concise with the addition of our third location, “one ticket – three locations.” NYBA plans to have its January 2018 space applications available in October. Just like South Lake Union, new and brokerage boats can be displayed at Bell Harbor Marina.

Strict stadium policies and not enough space have limited our ability to maximize amenities and features for attendees at CenturyLink Field & Event Center. We are excited for the opportunity to work independently at Bell Harbor Marina, with lots of space and the ability to provide more of the premium amenities and features that some boaters expect.

NMTA applications for the 2018 Seattle Boat Show were mailed and emailed to all NMTA members on Friday, June 30. The deadline for an on-time application for guaranteed space and the lowest rate is August 31. As usual, it’s critical to apply on time as I predict the indoor space at CenturyLink Field to sell out by August 31. That said, our Boat Show Guidelines do have time-tested policies on how to include as many members as possible with minimal allocations so that even those that miss the on-time deadline can still participate.

New for 2018, we have an online boat show application. In your email and letter from Seattle Boat Show Director Katie McPhail you’ll see that this year you can print your customized application to complete and mail to NMTA or use the new online application. I understand that our application can appear complicated because we keep track of so much unique member information including our five allocations (base, brand, growth, location, acquired) and three types of points (member, show, growth). However, after 18 years using this system, I can confidently say that it is fair and transparent. If you have any questions about Bell Harbor Marina, indoor space allocation or want to double-check a detail about your application, please contact Katie McPhail or myself.

Finally, June was the end of our fiscal year which means membership renewals and board elections. If you are one of the members that has already renewed – thank you very much! Renewals can be done online or by mail through the end of July. I’d like to welcome three new members to the Board of Trustees who will serve three-year terms. Sterling Hines-Elzinga of Sterling Marine Services, Gregg Reynolds of Global Marine Insurance, and Wendell Stroud of Marine Floats. I’d also like to say farewell and share a heartfelt thank you to two retiring Board members Giuseppe Alvarado of the Port of Seattle and Dan Wood of Crow’s Nest Yachts. We also had a bylaw revision on the ballot that was approved by members, which will allow members to vote electronically in the future.

It’s the start of a new chapter for the Seattle Boat Show and I’m fired up! Of course, I also can’t wait for a summer of fabulous boating and fishing with family and friends.

See you on the water!


George Harris
NMTA President/CEO

Note: NMTA requires all boats on display indoors to be new (2018 and 2017 hull numbers) for the upcoming show. This has been NMTA policy for at least 40 years and probably more.

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